On March 10th, Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina because of the spread of COVID - 19. This declaration activates the Emergency Operations Center to increase county health funds and help agencies coordinate response to new outbreaks. A state of emergency also makes it easier to purchase medical supplies, and it protects consumers from price gouging.

This is a time for our community not to panic but instead to commit ourselves to social distancing practices. By working remotely, washing our hands for 20 seconds at a time, and staying home when possible, we can help slow the spread of this virus. It is imperative that we do what we can to slow the spread of the virus so that our hospitals and urgent care centers do not become overwhelmed with patients who are in need. Your participation in social distancing practices now will guarantee that hospitals are able to provide life saving care in the future.
This update will be unusual in comparison to most of the updates from my office. I want to make every effort to ensure that you're receiving accurate and credible information about this virus and about the steps our local governments and businesses are taking to reduce the spread. It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Below are links to those two sources if you would like to find information directly on their websites.
NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) is making the following recommendations for all North Carolinians to reduce the spread of infection while we are still in an early stage in order to protect lives and avoid strain on our health care system.


If you need medical care and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you might have COVID-19, call ahead and tell your health care provider you have or may have COVID-19. This will allow them to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed. NC DHHS recommends that persons experiencing fever and cough should stay at home and not go out until their symptoms have completely resolved.


NC DHHS recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.

People at high risk include people:

  • Over 65 years of age
  • With underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • With weakened immune systems.


NC DHHS recommends that all facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should restrict visitors. Exceptions should include end of life care or other emergent situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit. If visitation is allowed, the visitor should be screened and restricted if they have a respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19. Facilities are encouraged to implement social distancing measures and perform temperature and respiratory symptom screening of residents and staff. These establishments include settings such as nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correction facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.


On March 14th, Governor Cooper issued an executive order to close public schools across the state of North Carolina, beginning on March 16th for at least two weeks. Closing schools is an incredibly difficult decision. Please be on the lookout for more guidance from DHHS and the Department of Public Instruction for more information on possible services to provide free meals to children who need them for the next two weeks.


NC DHHS recommends that employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules, and consider canceling non-essential travel. Workplaces should hold larger meetings virtually, to the extent possible. Additionally, employers should arrange the workspace to optimize distance between employees, ideally at least six feet apart. Employers should urge high risk employees to stay home and urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.


On March 14th, Governor Cooper issued an executive order mandating organizers of events that draw more than 100 people to cancel or postpone these events or offer online streaming services. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than 6 feet), for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings. The cancelation or postponement of these events is no longer suggested, it is required.


Mass transit operators should maximize opportunities for cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. People should avoid using use mass transit (e.g. buses, trains) while sick.


Here are known methods to reduce and slow the spread of infection.
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Staying home when sick
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Community-based interventions can also help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes measures collectively known as “social distancing.” Social distancing measures aim to reduce the frequency of contact and increase physical distance between persons, thereby reducing the risks of person-to-person transmission.

In line with DHHS workplace recommendations, my office in the General Assembly will be utilizing teleworking technologies until April 1st. My office is not closed. We are still here to help address any questions or concerns you might have. We will just not be physically in the Legislative Building for a short time. You can still contact my office by emailing or by calling 919-715-0795.

Please contact me at any time. I am here to serve you. 


Representative Julie von Haefen
Education Funding
On March 10th, Senator Wiley Nickel and I held a press conference with teachers, retirees and parents to share stories of how the budget standoff is affecting them in the classrooms and in their personal lives.

We heard about teachers who can’t afford medicine for their kids, retirees trying to make ends meet without a significant cost of living adjustment in years and school personnel who don’t make a living wage.

I spoke about the Leandro decision and the failure of this legislature to meet our constitutional obligation to our kids. In the upcoming short session, I hope our legislative leadership will finally come to the table so these shortfalls do not continue
COVID-19 Updates
Beware of Price Gouging and Other Scams
Because Governor Cooper placed North Carolina in a state of emergency, the state’s price gouging law is in effect. Under the law, the Attorney General’s Office can put a stop to price gouging and seek refunds for consumers who paid too much. The courts may also impose civil penalties against price gougers of up to $5,000 for each violation.
Charter Communications / Spectrum Broadband
 To ease the strain in this challenging time, beginning Monday, March 16, Charter
commits to the following for 60 days:

  • Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395.
  • Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
  • Charter will partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely.
  • For eligible low-income households without school-aged children, Charter continues to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, a low-cost broadband program delivering speeds of 30 Mbps
  • Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use
  • Spectrum does not have data caps or hidden fees.

As the country works collaboratively to contain this pandemic, broadband internet access will be increasingly essential to ensuring that people across the country are able to learn and work remotely, that businesses can continue to serve customers, and that Americans stay connected and engaged with family and friends.
Duke Energy
Duke Energy recognizes that the COVID-19 Pandemic could potentially create financial hardships for many of its customers and local communities in North Carolina. Effective immediately, Duke Energy is suspending disconnect services for nonpayment. Duke Energy remains committed to working with all customers who need assistance with their energy bills to avoid creating additional hardships for customers.
Duke Energy may continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and will make operational decisions accordingly. The safety and well-being of customers is Duke Energy's top priority.
American Airlines Schedule Changes
American Airlines is providing customers additional flexibility in light of concerns around coronavirus (COVID-19).

American has extended its offer to waive change fees for customers who purchased tickets prior to March 1 for travel through April 30. The offer is available for any of American’s fares and customers have until December 31 to rebook travel for future flights. Additional updates on existing travel alerts can be found on .
  • Any ticket purchased prior to March 1 will not incur change fees prior to travel. Customers must pay any fare difference, if applicable, at time of ticketing of the new fare.
  • This is available for any of American’s fares for travel through April 30.
  • The new ticket must be reissued on/before December 31 or 12 months from the original ticket date (whichever is earlier).

American will continue to take care of customers as this situation develops. The airline recently announced that change fees will be waived for customers who purchased tickets prior to March 1 for travel through April 30. Additionally, American’s Reservations team will contact affected customers directly by email or telephone. Customers who booked through a travel agent will be contacted by their agency directly. If a flight is canceled and a customer chooses not to be rebooked, they may request a full refund by visiting the link below.
Wake Med Campuses
Due to the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, WakeMed is increasing visitation restrictions. These changes are being made in an effort to limit potential COVID-19 exposure for patients and staff. 
Expanded Visitation Restrictions
In addition to current flu-related visitation restrictions for children under 12, WakeMed is adopting voluntary visitation restrictions for all but immediate family members and support persons. Wake Med strongly encourages all visitors except immediate family and support persons to stay home. Wake Med encourages everyone to use virtual options to communicate with patients as much as possible. This is consistent with the current policies of UNC Health and Duke Health.
Additionally, they are asking visitors who are sick not to enter any WakeMed facility unless they are presenting to a clinical site seeking care. This includes individuals with:
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
Any family members/visitors who appear sick but must be on site for patient needs (e.g., driver of an outpatient surgical/procedural patient) must wear a mask to limit exposure to others.
New signage regarding these visitation restrictions is in place, and this information is also on the Wake Med website and social media channels. Visitor restrictions may be tightened further as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
District News
Prescription Drug Disposal
This year, prescription drug disposal kiosks will be installed in 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies across the country, including 44 locations in North Carolina coming in April and May.

Locations include Walmart and Sam's Clubs located in Cary and Raleigh!

These kiosks can be used to dispose of unused prescription drugs. For those who fill prescriptions for opioid medications, an at-home opioid disposal product, DisposeRx, is available at no cost. Patients filling any new opioid prescription receive a free DisposeRx packet, and patients with chronic prescriptions are offered a free packet every six months. Existing Walmart pharmacy patients can also receive a free DisposeRx packet at any time upon request.  
District 36 Office Hours: CANCELED
Out of an abundance of caution and to honor social distancing recommendations, Rep. von Haefen has canceled her office hours on Wednesday, March 25.

Please stay on the lookout for an update on when office hours may resume.
Office Updates
Read Across America
I was so glad to start off my Friday morning on March 6th by reading to 1st graders! Thank you to Swift Creek Elementary for inviting me back for your Read Across America Day.

I shared my favorite Dr. Seuss book, The Sneetches and Other Stories , because I love its lessons of inclusion, friendship, and equality. One of the students told me that “Ms. Phillips’ class was the best one at Swift Creek,” and I have to agree. Thank you for welcoming me!
PSFNC Rural Education Study Group
This month, I attended another meeting of the Public School Forum of North Carolina Rural Education Study Group where we discussed the My Future NC initiative. My FutureNC is working on a goal to ensure that by 2030, 2 million North Carolinians ages 25-44 will have a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential.

We also discussed rural broadband access and the homework gap facing many students in rural areas. Did you know 20% of North Carolina households do not have access to a “meaningful digital device” and 40% of households do not subscribe to the internet at a speed useful for education and/or business?
We must remove the barriers for our state and its citizens to access broadband in order to increase economic prosperity and educational attainment. Thanks to the North Carolina Department of Information Technology for the presentation.
Wake County Farm Bureau Legislative Breakfast
I was up with the chickens and the cows on March 2nd for the  Wake County Farm Bureau  Legislative Breakfast at  Pam's Farmhouse !

Did you know Wake County has 532,415 acres of agricultural land and 783 farms?

In 2017, Wake County farms produced over $48 million in crops and almost $8 million in livestock, dairy and poultry products! Thank you NC farmers for your contribution to our county and state!
Upcoming Events
NOTICE: Most community events scheduled in March have been either cancelled or rescheduled. Please see below for updated event guidance. Follow the event links for further information.

Did you Know?
When Grove Arcade in Asheville, North Carolina opened in 1929, it was one of the first indoor malls in North America!
The building was closed and repurposed by the US Military as an operations hub for the duration of World War II.
In 1976, the Grove Arcade became the first indoor mall in America to be placed on the Register of Historic Places.