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Posted on: October 2, 2020

CURRENT COVID-19 PHASE 3 INFO FOR BENSON

CURRENT COVID-19 PHASE 3 INFO FOR BENSON
This week, Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina will be heading into “Phase 3” of its gradual reopening plan concerning COVID-19.
This phase continues to loosen some requirements while keeping in place social distancing, face coverings, and other measures. Phase 3 is set to begin today (10-2–20) at 5pm. 
What does this mean for the Town of Benson and its facilities? Here is our Phase 3 plan:
KEY CHANGES NOTED IN PHASE 3
-Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.
-Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
-Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
-Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
-Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only.
-The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
-The 11 pm curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23.  
GATHERINGS, BUSINESS, AND ACTIVITIES
-Outdoor playgrounds can reopen.
-Gyms, bowling alleys and other indoor exercise facilities can operate at 30 percent capacity.
-Mass gathering limits will be raised from 10 to 25 people indoors and from 25 to 50 people outside.
-Masks will be required in public for anyone age 5 and older.
TOWN HALL
Benson Town Hall and all Town facilities remain open to the public, but with restricted access. Residents with town-related questions can still call (919) 894-3553 as phones will be manned during normal business hours.
Utility customers are able to enter Town Hall to pay bills, however hallways, offices, and meeting spaces are off limits inside the building during Phase Two. One to two customers can be helped at a time inside the Utilities office at the window.
The Benson Police Department and the Benson Planning Department are open, but follow the same restrictions as the Utilities Office — seeing only one to two residents at a time. As always, for all life-threatening emergencies — dial 911. For non-emergencies, the BPD can be reached at (919) 894-2091.
Hand sanitizer will be available at Town Hall for customers and employees to use while on site. Additional and extensive sanitation measures are already in place at Town Hall.
Residents needing to pay utility bills can still use Town Hall’s night dropbox at any point in the day, pay bills online (https://ipn.paymentus.com/cp/tbup), or call and pay over the phone (previous restrictions on phone call payments have been temporarily lifted).
LIBRARY
The Mary Duncan Public Library is open with reduced hours for public access. It will be open for patrons to come inside Monday-Friday 10am-4pm. The reduced hours will allow library staff enough time to ensure the cleanliness of the library to protect staff and patrons.
Based on our current fire code capacity, the Library will only allow 15 people in the building at any given time.
Library patrons will be required to wear a mask if they enter the building. If a patron refuses to wear a mask (medical condition or any other reason), they will be asked to use curbside service and they will not be allowed to stay inside the building.
Three public computers will be available to use by appointment only. Due to limited computers, patrons will only be allowed to use the computer for a maximum of 30 minutes per day (one appointment per day). Patrons who wish to use the computer can call the library at (919) 894-3724 to schedule their appointment. Appointments will be on a first come first serve bases.  Computers will be sanitized between appointments. 
For individuals who only need printing services, the library will continue to offer printing via email. Patrons can email their print jobs to library@townofbenson.com.
In order to keep the book collection clean, baskets will be placed throughout the library for patrons to return any books they take off the shelf and decide not to check out.  
The Library’s curbside service will still be offered Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. Call (919) 894-3724 for more info. 
MUSEUM
The museum will remain closed to the public during this time.
PARKS & RECREATION
BPRD athletic leagues will not have a fall season.
Athletic camps and clinics will be allowed with adherence to all safety guidelines. The gymnasium will remain closed for rentals, but can be used for limited camps and clinics that do not include contact.
Playgrounds will reopen. 
The cardio room and weight room at BPRD will reopen, but capacity will be limited to 3-4 people. The game room in the building will also reopen and can accommodate 4-5 people. 
Outdoor basketball courts will reopen with safety restrictions. 
Ball fields will reopen for practice and recreation with safety restrictions. Parents and spectators will also be required to practice safe distancing on bleachers. No games or competitions will be scheduled. 
Renting outdoor facilities will be allowed with the state’s guidelines, but indoor rentals will remain on pause. Masks will be required as state recommends.