By DEUCE NIVEN
Shuffling spring break to the week of March 23 means Southeastern Community College classes are effectively closed through March 29, at least, in response to the current COVID-19 health emergency.
Workforce continuing education face-to-face classes are also suspended through March 29, an announcement from the college said.
Other local impacts of the nation’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak reported Monday include:
Free meals for students
Breakfast and lunch is available weekdays in the Columbus County Schools, Monday through Thursday in the Horry County Schools.
Demand did not appear to be high at the schools in Tabor City Monday morning, though school leaders have not yet reported on the response to the availability for meals for those students now out of school for at least two weeks.
In Columbus County breakfast is available from 8 to 10 a.m. weekdays, lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at each school, though the number of locations may be reduced depending on demand.
In Horry County breakfast and lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at specific locations, including Loris Elementary and Green Sea Floyds Elementary in northern Horry. Lunches include grab and go style meals and the student aged 18 and younger must be present in the vehicle. Monday through Wednesday’s grab and go bags will include one lunch and one breakfast for the next day. Thursday’s bags will consist of lunch for Thursday, breakfast and lunch for Friday. Adult meals will not be provided.
County offices in Columbus and Horry remain open, with citizens urged to conduct business with the counties by telephone or e-mail when possible.
Those who must visit a county officer are encouraged to use safety measures, including washing of hands and social distancing. Anyone with a fever or experiencing any symptoms related to the disease should stay home and contact their physician by phone.
Senior Centers in Columbus County will continue to provide home delivered meals, but will package meals for pickup that are normally served in group settings.
Traffic remains heavy at area grocery stores with one category of items apparently in very short supply, paper products.
There were no paper towels nor toilet paper to be found on the shelves at Tabor City’s Food Lion late Monday morning, while other stores reported short supplies or a run on those supplies as quickly as they were stocked.
State and federal officials were encouraging people not to panic buy, with the nation’s supply chain intact, and stores receiving new shipments daily.
North Carolina has halted eviction and foreclosure processes for at least the next 30 days, part of a general slow-down in court processes designed to reduce traffic in court buildings.
In response to the COVID-19 situation and recommendations for social distancing the North Carolina Bankers Association have made a series of recommendations, including:
- Encouraging customers to use drive-through, ATM, internet, and mobile banking channels for transactions. Banks will be closing or limiting lobby areas to walk-in traffic.
- Asking customers who must do certain business in person, such as safe deposits, to schedule an office appointment.
- Encouraging cleaning and sanitary practices to mitigate the spread of the virus.
- Implementing travel restrictions for bank staff
- Asking noncustomer-facing bank employees to work from home.
- Customers facing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19 should contact their bank.
- Customers are encouraged to use debit and credit cards when making purchases, and to use a disinfecting wipe to clean cards after use, and to use hand sanitizer soon after touching point-of-sale keypads and card readers.
- Customers are encouraged to chick their financial institutions website for updates.
“North Carolina banks are the cornerstones of our communities. I’m especially proud of the steps NCBA members are taking to ensure the health and safety of our customers and employees,” said Wendell Begley, NCBA chairman and president & CEO of Black Mountain Savings Bank.
Look for more on the local COVID-19 response as events warrant here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.