The state is using a multi-phased approach to ease restrictions put in place in March because of COVID-19. The state of North Carolina is now in what is called Phase 3. More types of facilities are allowed to reopen in this phase, but capacity limits apply to most venues.
During Phase 3, North Carolina maintains its requirement for residents to wear face coverings when in public, indoors or outdoors.
- State of North Carolina news release about extending Phase 3 through Nov. 13, 2020
- Frequently asked questions about Phase 3
- State executive order extending Phase 3 until Nov. 13, 2020
- FAQs about the face covering requirement
- FAQs about the face covering requirement - Spanish
- North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' recommendations for Halloween during the pandemic
Residents are still strongly urged to follow the three W's:
- Wear a cloth face covering while in public
- Wait 6 feet apart to maintain a safe distance
- Wash hands frequently
City buildings, services and meetings in Phase 3
- City office buildings are closed to the public, including Gastonia City Hall, the Garland Municipal Business Center and Utility Customer Service Center, Parks and Recreation administrative offices, and Recreation Centers. Other options for paying utility bills.
- Visitors to the Gastonia Police Department and Fire Stations are to use a call button next to the front door.
Executive orders by the governor of North Carolina temporarily stopped the disconnection of utility service for nonpayment from March 31 through July 30. However, customers are still required to pay for the water, sewer service and electricity they used during this time.
- The City of Gastonia and Two Rivers Utilities resumed normal collections procedures on past-due residential accounts on July 30, 2020.
- Residential customers with balances that became past due between March 31 and June 1, 2020, can apply for an extended payment plan.
- Under an extended payment plan, the amount of the past-due balance is divided into six monthly payments. These payments must be paid on time and in addition to the current bill to avoid possible disconnection of service.
- Most City-sponsored public events are canceled or postponed until further notice. An updated list of events is on the City's Facebook page.
- Parks, greenways, trails, playgrounds and open spaces in City parks are open sunrise to sunset, but visitors should maintain a social distance of 6 feet from others.
- Athletic fields and outdoor basketball and volleyball courts at parks facilities are open for passive recreation. Limitations on contact sports. No organized practices or games at park facilities without authorization.
- Some youth and adult league recreation teams are playing this fall.
- Park restrooms open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. with regular closings for cleaning and sanitation.
- Drinking fountains remain turned off. Please bring your own water.
- Rankin Lake boathouse is open Saturdays and Sundays. Requirements are in place because of COVID-19.
- Skeet and Trap Range is open Thursdays through Tuesdays. Requirements are in place because of COVID-19.
- Lineberger Park miniature train is running on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Picnic shelter reservations are open to groups of up to 50 people or maximum shelter capacity, whichever is lower. Social distancing requirements apply.
- Community Centers have reopened for some activities. Click the link to learn more.
- The museum is open. Visitors must reserve tickets in advance, wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines.
- The Schiele Nature Trail is open. Outdoor exhibits are open with an Educational Adventure ticket.
Solid Waste service
- City garbage and recycling pickup continue as scheduled.
- Yard waste collection is continuing. Crews may be delayed.
Gastonia Police and Fire
- Gastonia Police and Fire shifts are fully staffed. Police officers and firefighters have been provided personal protective equipment and educational material. If you see GPD officers wearing face masks/coverings, this is in response to recommendations from the CDC.
- The front doors of the Gastonia Police Department are locked until further notice. Visitors should press the call button for assistance or call the GPD front desk at 704-866-6702.
- All fire stations are closed to the public. If contact is necessary please ring doorbells and assistance will be provided as soon as possible.
- Community room reservations at Police and Fire stations are canceled until further notice.
- Gastonia Police firing range is closed to the public.
- Children’s car-seat checks are temporarily suspended.
- Fingerprinting in CSI for the public is temporarily suspended.
- Community Watch meetings are temporarily suspended.
- All state-mandated business inspections are suspended.
- Bus routes are running as scheduled.
- Passengers can ride City buses for free March 25, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021.
- Transit passengers are to wear face coverings. Passengers should not ride City buses if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to the coronavirus.
- Passengers are to enter and exit the bus through the rear door to maintain social distancing from the driver.
- Bus interiors, doorways and the transit center are cleaned and disinfected hourly or after each round trip.
- The 85X express bus is on a modified schedule. Fares and schedule are determined by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). CATS resumed charging fares June 8.
Gastonia City Council meetings and Advisory Committee meetings
- All Gastonia City Council meetings are being held at City Hall until further notice. The number of people in the room, including elected officials and City employees, is limited to 25.
- Individuals who wish to speak during the public comment portion of a City public meeting must register in advance and attend remotely.
- Public can watch meetings via livestream on City’s website. Until further notice, meetings on the third Tuesday will no longer be broadcast on government-access cable TV channels because TV camera operators will not be attending the meetings.
- Advisory Committee meetings held via teleconference or livestreamed from City Hall.
- May-October schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- November schedule: Saturdays only - 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- Special precautions for customers and vendors because of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Open but following the Phase 3 guidelines for reduced capacity.
Important resources about the coronavirus and COVID-19
- Gaston County COVID-19 case count dashboard
- Gaston County's Gaston SAVES initiative - Mask Together, Gaston
- North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services COVID-19 information website (NC COVID-19 case count, resources for individuals and businesses)
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control coronavirus website
- U.S. National Institutes of Health coronavirus website
- Gaston Recovers small-business bridge loan program announcement, overview and application
- North Carolina COVID-19 resources for businesses and employers
Individuals and families
- Gaston County coronavirus hotline (to report businesses operating over capacity or not following distancing guidelines, M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.): 704-862-5303.
- Gaston County CARE plan (one-time payment to individuals who lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic)
- Gastonia Electric Assistance Resource (GEAR helps low-income customers pay their electric bills)
- Crisis Assistance Ministry of Gastonia (assistance with utility bills, rent/mortgage payments and food)
- NC HOPE program ("Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions" program for help with rent and utilities)
- NC 2-1-1 hotline and website (free information and referral service about locally based health, financial and human services)
- NC360 website (free referrals to local assistance with food, housing, health care, financial, child care, mental health and other needs)
- NC Crisis Intervention Program (assists qualifying individuals and families unable to pay the cost of heating or cooling their residence)
- NC Child Care Hotline for local care options for children under age 12: 1-888-600-1685
- NC health insurance options
- NC unemployment assistance
- Gaston County Schools meals available for pickup for remote learners
- Cathy Mabry Cloninger Domestic Violence Shelter in Gaston County. Crisis line: 704-852-6000
- NC State University COVID and food safety website (best practices for takeout meals, grocery shopping, cleaning and disinfecting, how to make your own hand sanitizer)
- CDC face covering information (how to make cloth face coverings, when and how to wear face coverings)
**This page was last updated Oct. 21, 2020.**