Three vaccines are authorized for emergency use and widely accepted in the United States. In North Carolina, these vaccines are currently available to everyone 12 and older. For more information about vaccine distribution in North Carolina, including when you might be eligible to receive a vaccine and how to find a vaccine location, click here. For information you should know about the vaccine, clickhere.
Protect Yourself and Others
According to the CDC, you can resume normal activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart if you are fully vaccinated. In addition to getting the vaccine, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of catching COVID-19 and spreading the virus to others. To stay safe, be sure to:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others if you are not vaccinated;
- Stay 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you if you are not vaccinated;
- Stay home if you are ill;
- Avoid crowds;
- Avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces; and
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
For additional information about the Delta variant, clickhere.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms, which range from mild to severe, can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and more. If you suspect you might have COVID-19, you can use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker to help you determine if you should get tested or seek medical care.
COVID-19 testing is available at numerous locations throughout Wake County. Click here to find a location near you. Testing is free, and many locations do not require that you make an appointment.
American Rescue Plan
In March 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, delivering urgently needed relief to North Carolinians and the country. Prior to the American Rescue Plan, Congress passed two other relief packages – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 and additional relief legislation in December 2020. Below is more information about key provisions in the American Rescue Plan and resources available to you.
Economic Impact Payments
Congress passed three bills to send direct Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks) to Americans. The CARES Act, enacted in March of 2020, provided payments of up to $1,200 to adults and up to $500 per dependent child under 17. The COVID-19 relief package, enacted in December of 2020, provided payments of up to $600 to adults and dependent children under 17. The American Rescue Plan, enacted in March 2021, provided payments of up to $1,400 to eligible adults and all dependents. Most people should have received their payments automatically via direct deposit.
The American Rescue Plan extendedPandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through September 6, 2021 and authorized an additional $300 per week in benefits for jobless workers.
In North Carolina, those who are unemployed may be eligible to receive up to 79 weeks of PUA benefits through September 4, 2021. For more information about PUA in North Carolina and how to apply, clickhere.
If you are experiencing a reduction in income due to COVID-19, you can visit the North Carolina Division of Employment Security to learn more about the assistance that might be available to you.
Small Business Assistance
Multiple federal and state programs provide assistance to struggling small businesses. Click here for an overview of the federal programs run by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
North Carolina has created several programs to provide relief due to COVID-19. Click here for an overview of the programs and to apply for assistance.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness
In March 2020, the CARES Act established the Paycheck Protection Program, which provided forgivable loans to small businesses to keep employees on payroll and cover basic costs. The American Rescue Plan included additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which ended on May 31, 2021. However, you may qualify for PPP loan forgiveness. Click here to see if you are eligible andhere to learn more about the PPP.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
Assistance is also available through theSBA’s economic injury disaster loans (EIDL), which provides relief to small businesses, agricultural business, and non-profit organizations experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to the pandemic. EIDL loans are not eligible for forgiveness like PPP loans and must be repaid.
Applications for EIDL loans will be accepted through December 31, 2021 or until funds run out. To learn more about the EIDL program or to apply for a loan, click here. Clickhere for EIDL frequently asked questions.
SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program
The SBAShuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the relief package passed in December 2020 and allocated over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues. Eligible entities include live venue operators and promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theater operations, and talent representatives.
Applicants’ venues must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020. Any venue or operator that receives a loan and also received a PPP loan will have the SVOG loan reduced by the PPP loan amount.
Child Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan expanded and improved the Child Tax Credit. Beginning July 15th, nearly all working families started receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments. Through December, most families with children will receive up to $300 a month per child for children ages 0 to 5 and $250 a month per child for children ages 6 to 17.
Families will qualify for a full credit if their income is below $75,000 for single filers, $112,000 for people filing as head of household, or $150,000 for people who are married and filing jointly.
Most eligible families should start receiving their monthly payments in July if they filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return or signed up to receive an Economic Impact Payment. If you didn’t file a tax return, the IRS has a tool to help non-filers receive their monthly payments here. For more information about the payments, clickhere.
Earned Income Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan expanded theEarned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a tax credit for low- and middle-income families and workers that can be used to reduce taxes owed to the IRS.
Wake County is working to ensure no one goes hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Free meals are available to students ages 18 and under at schools throughout the county Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Click here for a list of locations.
Wake County has launched a program to help people struggling with housing insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. TheHouse Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program provides assistance to tenants and landlords facing rent shortfalls. Click here to learn more and apply for assistance.
The eviction moratoriumended in North Carolina on June 30, 2021. As part of the House Wake! Eviction Prevention Program, Wake County has partnered with Legal Aid of North Carolina to provide free legal support for tenants who need a lawyer to negotiate filed evictions with landlords. Clickhere for more information about the services.
Direct Relief for North Carolina
North Carolina’s Second District has seen direct funding from the American Rescue Plan.
Local colleges, universities, and students in the Second District received more than$104 million in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan to help local institutions cope with the severe financial fallout from the pandemic and continue serving their students safely.
The Wake County Bus Rapid Transit project on New Bern Avenue received an allocation of$5.4 million in American Rescue Plan funds as a part of the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program.
The Raleigh-Durham International Airport received nearly$50.7 million in American Rescue Plan funding to aid the airport in its economic recovery from the pandemic. This is in addition to the$49.5 million it received through the CARES Act in 2020.