Norlina playground.jpg

LUCI WELDON/The Warren Record

This sign on the fencing which surrounds the playground at Norlina Junction Park illustrates one of the many safety measures taken at local municipalities and at the county level in an effort to protect citizens from the coronavirus.

Faith in God. That and having a pastor who told church members five years ago to keep their finances in order are what Warrenton barber Demond Andrews said would help him get through the next 30 days after he closes his shop today.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 120 closes certain businesses across the state at 5 p.m. today for 30 days to force the practice of social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those businesses include a number in Warren County, such as barber shops, hair and nail salons, gyms, tattoo parlors, and bingo and gaming establishments, among others. 

The order was issued Monday and further limits mass gatherings to 50 people or less, including parades, fairs and festivals. It also extends public school closure through Friday, May 15, and restricts visitation at long-term care facilities.

“My faith in God is being able to see him work on my behalf and see him work on others’ behalf,” Andrews said late Tuesday as he was cutting hair.

Customer traffic hadn’t been overly busy, given that he would only be open one more day, he said.

“I regret going home and having to hit that honey-do list,” he said, grinning.

In Norlina, Kendall Barber, owner of Tillie’s Beauty Salon, said having to close for a month would have a huge impact on not only her life, but also on her customers.

“I’m not working for 30 days. I own the shop; this is my livelihood, my income,” she said. “This will also impact my customers. A lot of people will be off their regular routine. I won’t get to see my customers for 30 days.”

 

Recreation facilities close

As of Monday at 5 p.m., all Warren County, Warren County Schools, town of Norlina and town of Macon playgrounds, basketball courts and pickleball courts were closed to the public in response to Executive Order 120, according to a news release from Warren County government. Team sports are also prohibited at these facilities. 

The town of Warrenton has not closed its park and playground areas. 

Changes to Warren County government operations

On Monday, Warren County government agencies altered public operations until further notice.

Health Department

The Warren County Health Department will see visitors by appointment only (Health and Environmental Health). Health department customers will be asked screening questions prior to coming in for appointments. To make a medical appointment, call 252-257-1185. 

Environmental health customers should call 252-257-1538. 

Visitors will only be allowed to bring one additional person with them to appointments. 

The Warren County Health Department is canceling two community events that were scheduled during public health week. They are: Annual Health Fair on April 7 and the Child Health Celebration on April 8. 

Planning & Zoning/Code Enforcement

Planning & Zoning and Code Enforcement will conduct appointments as needed. Staff will be available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Customers seeking permits are asked to contact staff at 252-213-4253. Inspectors will continue to conduct inspections. To reach Planning & Zoning and Code Enforcement, call 252-213-4253 or email kenkrulik@warrencountync.gov

Public Utilities

Warren County Public Utilities customers are asked to pay their bills online, over the phone, or via the drop box on the side of the building. Include the account number and/or address on your envelope. 

Public utilities staff will still be on site and will continue to take calls at 252-257-3645 and new services via fax 252-257-3979. 

To pay online with a credit or debit card, use the jurisdiction code 3966; convenience fees still apply. 

Online payments can be made at warrencountync.com/131/Online-Payments

To make payments with debit or credit over the phone, customers can call 1-800-272-9829; jurisdiction code 3966. Convenience fees still apply. 

Customers wishing to avoid convenience fees should use the on-site drop box located at public utilities, 712 US Hwy. 158 business, Warrenton. 

Social Services

The Warren County Department of Social Services will operate on a regular schedule. Residents should call DSS with questions and mail in re-certifications. Residents are also encouraged to use the drop box. 

All visitors to the building will be screened prior to entrance. For more information, contact Social Services at 252-257-2202. 

Detention Center

The Warren County Detention Center has suspended all visitation requests; attorneys must get prior approval to visit their clients. 

Weekly religious visits from clergy have been suspended. 

The Detention Center lobby area is limited to official business only. Each incoming detainee will be properly screened upon arrival, and extra hygiene supplies have been distributed to detainees. 

Cooperative Extension

Warren County Cooperative Extension will maintain regular office hours. 

The following Cooperative Extension events have been cancelled: Master Gardener Spring Symposium, March 28; Five County Beef Tour, March 28; N.C. State Day of Giving, March 25; Teen Court, March 26; Small Farms Week, March 23-27. The 4H Poultry Show and Sale is postponed until further notice. For more information, contact Cooperative Extension at 252-257-3640. 

Parks and Recreation

Spring sports practice and all events at the Warren County Recreation Complex are suspended until further notice. The John Graham Gym is currently closed through April 6. Anyone needing to communicate with parks and recreation staff should first call 252-257-2272. Parks and recreation employees will be on site and will answer phone calls and emails. 

Tax Office

The tax office will be closed to the public (appointments as necessary) until further notice. All collections staff will report as normal and assist taxpayers with phone, online or telephonic payment of tax bills. All assessment staff will report as normal to assist taxpayers via phone, or email. Operations will continue as normal via phone, email, scan, fax and mail. The tax office can be reached at 252-257-4158. 

Veteran Services

Veteran Services has suspended in-person meetings. Clients submitting documentation can email or fax documents into the office. Interviews will take place over the telephone. To contact Veteran Services, call 252-257-3385. 

Animal Control

Kennel walk-throughs will be limited. Animals will be brought outside to the playground to have a one-on-one meeting with interested adopters. Potential adopters are referred to the shelter’s Facebook page @WarrenCountyAnimalArk. Visitors will not be allowed beyond the adoption rooms. Rabies vaccinations will stop until further notice. Animal Control will be available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on-call during weekends. 

Register of Deeds

Public access to the Register of Deeds will be limited. There will be a drop box by the door so that documents can be dropped off for recording. This box will be checked frequently throughout the day. If customers need a Plat Map recorded, call the Register of Deeds to let staff know. Map and payment will be taken at the door. Customers will wait in the hallway while map is recorded. 

The public is strongly encouraged to request certified copies of birth, death and marriage licenses by calling the office, or go to warrenrod.org to complete an application and bring with them. To obtain a Marriage License, Renew Notary, and file military discharge, call for further instructions. The phone number is 252-257-3265.

Landfill/Transfer Station and Convenience Sites

The transfer station/landfill will be open normal hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and convenience sites will operate on the regular schedule. Landfill customers should pick up envelopes in the breezeway of Public Utilities and submit payments via the Public Utilities drop box on the side of the building. For more information, contact Public Works at 252-257-1948. 

Finance

The Warren County Finance Office is closed to the public. Staff will be on site to handle operations. The public should use the drop box as needed. 

Other departments

Soil and Water, Economic Development, and the County Manager’s Office will operate on a regular schedule. The public is encouraged to call before stopping in. 

In addition to precautionary measures set in place by federal and state health agencies, all departments have been advised to implement a screening assessment prior to conducting face-to-face appointments. This includes asking visitors if they have a fever, are coughing, have shortness of breath, have recently traveled to high risk areas, and if they have been in close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Warren County will be monitoring updates and advisories and will conduct weekly assessments to all changes in operations. 

Updated information related to COVID-19 is posted online and on the Warren County Facebook page @WarrenCountyNCOfficial. 

For more information, contact the Warren County Manager’s Office at 252-257-3115 Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit warrencountync.com

The Warren County COVID-19 Information Line is 252-257-7132 operated Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Sheriff’s office

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office announced on its Facebook page on Monday that its office will remain locked in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone who has business with the Sheriff’s Office who needs immediate attention should return to their vehicle and call 252-257-3364. A series of questions will be asked. Answers will determine whether or not access to the Sheriff’s Office waiting area will be granted.

There will be no more than two occupants in the waiting area at one time.

Information can be requested via email at eagleeye@vance.net.

If information is being requested after 5 p.m., weekends, or holidays, the contact number is 252-257-3456.

No fingerprinting will be done until further notice.

Norlina 

Norlina Mayor Wayne Aycock on Tuesday morning declared a state of emergency for the town, which went into effect at 7 p.m. that evening.

He told the newspaper that he issued the state of emergency separate from the county’s declaration to allow Norlina to apply for disaster recovery funds as they become available.

Warren County Schools

Warren County Schools will distribute student meals from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at three locations: Warren County High School, Vaughan Elementary School and Northside K-8 School.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Young reported that 7,669 meals were distributed last week with numbers steadily increasing through the week. 

On Monday, March 16, 238 lunches were distributed at WCHS. Numbers grew at the three sites the next day.

On Wednesday, March 18, 894 breakfasts and 894 lunches were distributed, and 60 meals were delivered to the homes of students whose parents requested food, but were without transportation to the meal sites.

A total of 1,075 each breakfasts and lunches were distributed on Thursday, March 19.

On Friday, March 20, the number of meals distributed increased to 1,097 each for breakfast and lunch.

Warren County Schools also distributed student instructional packets last week, but not all parents picked up those packets for their children. Packets will be made available at Warren County High School for parents who have not obtained them. They may pick up the packets at the same time that they receive student meals.

Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School

Parents of students attending Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School may return their children’s completed instructional packets from last week on Thursday, March 26, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. At that time, they will be given new instructional packets for this week.

Meals continue to be prepared on Mondays through Fridays and delivered to students’ homes.

Norlina Christian School

Textbooks and workbooks have been provided for all students at Norlina Christian School. Teachers remain in regular contact with the students to continue a schedule of assignments and assistance.

Several teachers plan to conduct classes in small group settings twice a week in the fellowship hall of New Life Baptist Church in Norlina while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Meeting areas will be cleaned on a regular basis.

Norlina Christian School plans to complete the school year as originally scheduled with these modifications.