RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is providing guidelines for voters and local polling locations to help protect the health of North Carolinians during the voting process. In addition, NCDHHS and the NC Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management provided personal protective equipment to local election boards and locations.
North Carolina residents who plan to vote in-person should wear a face mask and keep it on throughout the voting process, stay 6 feet apart from others while at the polling location, and wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after voting.
“Everyone should make their voting plan, and just like going to the grocery store, take your mask and wait apart from others. I’ll be voting in person during early voting,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
NCDHHS also issued guidelines to local polling locations to protect people while they vote, work or volunteer at voting locations. Masks are required in public and voting places must have enough masks to provide one to anyone who does not have one. If a voter has an exception for wearing a mask, election workers should try to accommodate them and should not turn voters away.
Election workers at voting locations must routinely clean and disinfect high-touch areas, such as doors, tables and chairs, with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — especially during peak voting times. Many locations are providing single-use pens to voters.
The guidelines, adapted from the CDC’s Considerations for Election Polling Locations and Voters, also require elections officials to post signage at each voting place reminding voters and workers about social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others. Officials are required to provide physical markers, such as tape on floors or signs on walls, to help ensure people remain at least 6 feet apart.
Additionally, county boards of elections must:
- Require election workers and observers to wear a mask when social distancing is or may not be possible, unless they state an exception applies.
- Require election workers to encourage people to wear a mask while they vote or campaign and offer masks to those who are not wearing them.
To monitor the health of elections workers, county boards of elections are required to:
- Immediately separate and send home election workers who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day.
- Conduct daily symptom screening of workers before opening the voting place each day.
- Post signage at the main entrance asking people who have a fever and/or a cough not to enter. Signage from the NCDHHS Know your Ws campaign is available to download.
All 100 county election offices have received gloves and face shields for poll workers; disposable masks for workers and others who do not have a mask; and hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and paper towels. Anheuser-Busch and McDonald’s donated a portion of the hand sanitizer to the Association of State Election Directors. NCDHHS and NCDPS are providing the rest of the supplies and equipment. Additionally, the NC State Board of Elections is sending single-use pens to county election offices for use as needed.
Interim Guidance for Election Voting Locations and guidelines for Voting Safely During COVID-19 can be found at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#election-voting.
RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper announced that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is providing $35 million in operational grants from federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to help child care programs providing in-person child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. From April through July, NCDHHS has provided over $80 million in monthly operational grants for child care programs that served over 105,000 children statewide throughout the pandemic.
“These grants will help offset the significant financial strains placed on child care to meet health and safety guidelines while serving fewer children,” said Governor Cooper. “Our child care programs have been on the frontlines since the start of this pandemic, keeping their doors open so other workers could keep our economy running and the public safe. A strong and safe child care system is essential to our recovery.”
“Our response and recovery are dependent upon having a strong, high-quality child care system open and available. These operational grants help families go to work and children’s learning to be nurtured,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.
The grants will be awarded to licensed child care providers operating in-person during the months of August through October 2020 to help offset the significant financial strains due to the additional expenses to meet health and safety guidelines, while experiencing reduced revenues from lower enrollment. Providers have the flexibility to use these grants to meet their unique individual business and operational needs.
All eligible licensed child care programs will receive some level of operational grants. Specific grant amounts are based on program size, quality, and whether the program serve infants and toddlers.
Throughout the pandemic, NCDHHS has maintained North Carolina’s long history of investments in child care by providing monthly operational grants since April, child care teacher and staff bonuses in April and May, and an emergency subsidy child care program in April and May.
For more information about child care during COVID-19 in North Carolina, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/child-care.