COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information
Information on city actions in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat will be posted on this page. Employees, visit cityofws.org/covid19employee.
Latest News: November 17
Forsyth County will be in code Orange on North Carolina's COVID-19 County Alert System through at least mid-December. Code Orange designates "substantial" community spread. State officials recommend those in Orange and Red counties to limit public interactions to essential activities, limit mixing between households and work from home, among other things. The Alert System report will be updated on the second week of each month. Learn more at NC.gov.
Masks or face coverings are required inside enclosed city-owned or city-leased government buildings. This requirement also includes city-owned parking decks, the Clark Campbell Transportation Center and Winston-Salem Transit Authority buses. Masks are not required at open-air facilities, such as basketball and tennis courts, golf courses or picnic shelters.
If you need to do business with the city, remember that most business with the city can be conducted online or over the phone. If you’re not sure, call CityLink at 311 or 336-727-8000.
Select the tabs below for more details about city operations, virus prevention tips and official resources.
- November Updates
- October Updates
- September Updates
- August Updates
- July Updates
- June Updates
- May Updates
- April Updates
- March Updates
Gov. Roy Cooper is limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people as of November 13. This order mostly applies to indoor home gatherings that include people who live outside the home. This order does not apply to businesses that were allowed to reopen with previously announced reduced capacities. The mask wearing requirement remains in effect. This order runs through Friday, December 4. Read FAQs at NC.gov.
Gov. Roy Cooper has extended the state's Phase 3 guidelines to November 13. No other changes were announced. For full updates, go to nc.gov/covid19.
The Benton Convention Center is reopen and following the state's Phase 3 provisions, along with other guidelines. Up to 100 people can be seated each in the Winston and Salem ballrooms and in Piedmont Hall on the lower level. Breakout rooms will have lesser seating capacity, depending on their size. Read more provisions and details.
Gov. Roy Cooper is moving North Carolina into Phase 3 starting at 5 p.m. Friday, October 2. Outdoor stadiums, amphitheaters, outdoor bars, movie theaters and conference centers can reopen at reduced capacity. The 11 p.m. alcohol sales curfew will continue at restaurants and bars. The mask requirement remains in effect, and mass gathering limits will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. Read more at NC.gov.
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities will resume charging late fees for bills starting October 1. Customers who cannot pay by their due date must enroll in payment plans by October 30 to avoid disconnection. Customers can enroll by calling CityLink at 336-727-8000 or by going in-person to the Bryce A. Stuart Municipal Building, 100 East First Street, Suite 121. Masks are required for building entry.
On-street parking enforcement will resume October 5. Tickets will be issued for violations. Read more.
Recreation & Parks will open playgrounds, outdoor basketball courts, the skate park and shelter rentals on Monday, September 14. All activities must be limited to 50 people as required by North Carolina's Phase 2.5 guidelines.
The Salem Lake Marina Center Bait Shop will also reopen. Pier fishing and boat launching will also resume, though participants of either activity must check in at the bait shop first.
Governor Roy Cooper will advance North Carolina to "Phase 2.5" starting Friday, September 4 at 5 p.m. The mask requirement will remain in effect. Playgrounds can reopen without capacity restrictions, while museums, gyms and other indoor exercising facilities can reopen at limited capacity. Mass gathering limits will also be increased to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. Read more at NC.gov.
Day Camp programs are being extended so children have another option for remote learning locations. Recreation activities will be offered after classes end for the day. The cost is $25 a week. Read more.
The Cricket's Nest Craft Shop will reopen on Tuesday, August 18. Only 10 customers will be allowed inside at a time. Shoppers must wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Read store hours.
Governor Roy Cooper has extended North Carolina's Phase 2 order and mask requirement to 5 p.m. Friday, September 11. Read more at NC.gov.
The 2020 Carolina Classic Fair, originally scheduled for October 2-11, has been canceled. City management has determined that the likelihood of holding the fair is minimal in light of continued community transmission of the COVID-19 virus in North Carolina. Fairgrounds staff will explore ways to hold certain parts of the fair virtually. Learn more at carolinaclassicfair.com. Read full news release.
All pools have been closed until further notice. Two Bolton Pool employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and one of those employees interacted outside of work with staff members from other pools. Splash pads at Hathaway, Little Creek, Nelson Malloy, Rupert Bell, Sedge Garden, Mineral Springs and Reynolds parks remain open. Read original release. Read updated release.
Masks or face coverings are required inside enclosed city-owned or city-leased government buildings. This requirement also includes city-owned parking decks, the Clark Campbell Transportation Center and Winston-Salem Transit Authority buses. Masks are not required at open-air facilities, such as basketball and tennis courts, golf courses or picnic shelters. While masks are not required for pools and pool decks, they are required in pool bathhouses.
Governor Roy Cooper has extended North Carolina’s Phase 2 order and mask requirement to Friday, August 7. Learn more at NC.gov.
Bulky Item Collection has been suspended for the rest of 2020. City homeowners can apply for a free landfill permit to take bulky items to the Hanes Mill Road Landfill at no charge. The permit is good for two trips within a 12-month period. Learn more.
Governor Roy Cooper has extended the state’s Phase 2 provisions through Friday, July 17. The extension, which begins at 5 p.m. Friday, June 26, also includes a requirement to wear face coverings in many circumstances. Read more at NC.gov.
All-day Recreation & Parks summer camps begin Monday, July 6 at Sedge Garden, Old Town, Polo, W.R. Anderson, Little Creek, Hanes Hosiery, W.C. Sims, and the Minnie Lee Davis Harris (formerly 14th Street) recreation centers. In-person registration begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 27. The centers will remain closed to the general public.
Free half-day camps will take place from 8 a.m. to noon once a week (Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays) at Winston Lake, Kimberley, Blum, Jamison, Miller and Washington parks. Participation will be limited to 20 campers per park.
A four-week virtual camp begins Monday, July 13. Preregister and pick up weekly materials at Minnie Lee Davis Harris rec center.
City Council Member Annette Scippio has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating in her home. Scippio learned last week that she was exposed to the virus. In response, the council proactively chose to hold its June 15 meeting online instead of at the Benton Convention Center as planned. Scippio’s test results came back on June 15. Read more.
The following Phase 2 service changes for Recreation & Parks will begin on June 1:
- Shelter reservations will resume for groups of 25 or less.
- Salem Lake bait shop will reopen from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for limited sales and restroom access. Outdoor restrooms remain closed.
- Tours of Historic Bethabara Park will resume by appointment only for groups of 10 or less. The visitor’s center will reopen Saturdays & Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Read more details on Recreation & Parks changes.
Brush collection and code enforcement in Winston-Salem will resume Monday, June 1. Also on June 1, city residents will again be charged fees for taking yard waste to the Forum 52 and Overdale Road yard-waste processing facilities. Read more.
The city of Winston-Salem is following Governor Roy Cooper’s executive orders regarding COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. Friday, May 8, the city will follow the guidelines for reopening the economy that are enacted by Cooper. Visit the state webpage for specifics, including frequently asked questions and full text of the order.
The City of Winston-Salem is now following Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order after Mayor Allen Joines rescinded his stay-at-home order today. Cooper’s order is currently set to expire at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 8. The categories of essential and nonessential businesses do not change as a result of following the state order. Read more.
Yard Waste Collections to Resume: The city will resume yard waste collections on Monday, May 4. Collections will be made Monday through Thursday in keeping with the regular collection schedule. With brush collection still suspended, citizens can place small brush in their yard waste carts as long as the lid is able to fully close. Read more.
Local COVID Grants: Twenty-three local agencies and other non-profit groups will receive grants from the city’s $1 million contribution to the COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County. The largest single grant, of $100,000, will go to the Forsyth Backpack Program, which provides weekend meals for hungry children & teens. Grants of $75,000 each were approved for Love Out Loud, the School Health Alliance for Forsyth County and Trellis Supportive Care. Read the news release and see the full list of grants and their intended use. Also posted is a video of the online meeting on Friday, April 24, at which the grants were approved.
A community-wide effort called Mask the City is underway with the goal of getting everybody in Winston-Salem to wear a cloth mask now through May 31 every time they leave their home. Doing this will hasten the day that we can reopen Winston-Salem.
Why it’s important: According to Surgeon General Jerome Adams, at least one out of every four cases of COVID-19 are transmitted by people who are not showing any symptoms. Wearing a mask reduces the chance of you spreading the virus if you have it but don’t know it. But remember: wearing a mask does not replace other preventative measures like staying at home, washing your hands, and staying six feet away from others.
Scores of Winston-Salem’s businesses and not-for-profit organizations have committed to purchasing large numbers of masks for their employees. A number of businesses, foundations, other organizations and private donors are funding an effort to provide masks at no cost to low-income individuals and other at-risk residents through a variety of community and faith-based organizations.
The April 20 meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council will be conducted online and will begin at the regular time, 7 p.m. City residents can watch the meeting live on WSTV Digital Media (channel 13 on Spectrum or channel 99 on AT&T Uverse) or online through the city website or the city’s YouTube channel.
Residents who wish to address the council during the public comment period may call 336-734-1397 before the meeting to record their comments and have them played to the council during the meeting. Each comment will be limited to three minutes and up to 30 minutes will be allotted for public comments. Messages will be played in the order in which they are received with city residents having a preference over non-city residents. The deadline for calling in comments is noon on Monday, April 20.
Mayor Joines has extended his stay-at-home order through May 7 after consulting with local medical authorities. Joines noted that the steps taken so far have succeeded in slowing the spread of COVID 19, but added that lifting them too soon could result in a new surge of cases. “Let’s be smart about this,” Joines said. “Just hang in there for another three weeks.” At the end of the extension, he said, “we will evaluate our situation and make adjustments as necessary.” And if circumstances allow, some restrictions could be lifted sooner, he said.
Joines’ stay-at-home extension retains all the provisions of his original order and incorporates the new limitations on business occupancy and other measures that Gov. Cooper announced last week. Read full list of restrictions and exceptions.
As part of a governor’s executive order, Essential Businesses with a Fire Marshal-established maximum occupancy must follow one of these new emergency maximum occupancy guidelines:
- 20% of listed maximum occupancy
- Maximum 5 people per 1,000 square feet
City Churches Urged to Ring Bells: Mayor Allen Joines is urging churches and other faith-based institutions in the community to ring their bells at noon on Friday, April 10, and again at noon on Sunday, April 12, as a sign of solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. “In this time of uncertainty and fear in our community, something as simple as ringing bells throughout the city can impart to citizens – perhaps even more effectively than words can -- that we are all in this fight together, and that together we will prevail.”
WSTA Suspending Fares, Instituting Social Distancing on Buses: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective April 15 bus fares will not be collected on all WSTA fixed route and Trains-Aid services until further notice. Suspending fares will eliminate transactions between drivers and passengers, to their mutual protection. Additionally passengers will be asked to board and alight using the rear door unless they need to use the ramp or have the bus kneel. Every other row will be blocked off and there will be a 15-person limit on buses. All routes will continue running their Saturday schedules on Mondays through Saturdays. WSTA asks that anyone experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms stay at home. Do not travel on WSTA or Trans-AID. This protects the drivers and other passengers!
Starting Monday, April 6, the following services and city functions will be suspended until further notice:
- Bulky item collection (announced on Monday).
- Yard cart collection.
- Brush and limb collection.
- Mowing and landscaping.
- Litter collection.
- Proactive housing and environmental code enforcement.
- Routine street & drainage maintenance (emergency work will continue to be performed).
- A variety of administrative and support functions.
- On- and off-street parking enforcement.
The city has suspended its annual bulky item collection until further notice. Suspending bulky item collections will ensure sufficient staffing for garbage collections and prevent crews from being exposed to contaminated household items. Watch COVID-19 garbage collection tips. Mira en español.
The 3RC EnviroStation is closed due to the Stay-at-Home order. Residents can store household hazardous waste and electronic waste at home until the facility reopens.
WSTA AMENDING SERVICE: Starting Monday, March 30, WSTA will run its Saturday schedule on every day but Sunday. This change will not affect Trans-AID service. Changing to the Saturday schedule will allow WSTA to disinfect buses throughout the day and evening, which provides safer transportation for passengers and drivers. With Saturday service, routes run from 6 a.m. to midnight. Routes 83 Express, 88, 95, 98, 100, 102 and 110 will not run. If you need help finding an alternate route call WSTA at 336-727-2000.
Effective Friday, March 27, at 5 p.m., Mayor Joines is ordering all city residents to stay home in light of "a significant and increasing number of suspected cases of community transmission and likely further significant increases in transmission" of the COVID-19 virus. The order allows residents to venture out of their homes under for certain purposes, such as to buy groceries. It exempts employees of essential businesses and services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, financial institutions, gas stations, health-care facilities and take-out restaurants. The complete list of essential businesses is contained in the order and is posted on our website.
To further reduce the spread of the virus, Joines is prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10 people and closing all places of public amusement, such as movie theatres, bowling alleys and country clubs. It places new restrictions on staff and visitors to nursing homes and long-term care and assisting-living facilities. The order will be in effect through April 16 but notes that it will be reviewed regularly and may be amended as circumstances dictate.
With the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus in Forsyth County, as of Wednesday the city is closing City Hall and the Stuart Municipal Building to most outside visitors and ordering all non-essential employees in those buildings to stay home. Employees will work from home to the extent possible. Essential city services, including police, fire, sanitation, water & sewer treatment, traffic signals and WSTA, will continue to operate as normally as possible. Employees in those departments are taking the necessary precautions.
Closing City Hall and the Stuart Building will reduce the chance of passing the virus pass between city employees and citizens. Residents who need to interact with city departments should do so through City Link or the city website. Payments can be made online, over the phone through City Link, and at the drive-through windows at the Stuart Building (100 E. First St.) and the Black Phillips Smith Government Office (2301 Patterson Ave.).
City residents should roll out their garbage, recycling and yard-waste cards as usual. If a cart has not been emptied by the end of your regular collection day, leave it at the curb. It may be the case that our collection crew encountered a delay.
WSTA has suspended service on Route 100 until further notice. The route runs from Union Station to multiple shopping centers via Miller Street and South Stratford Road, and serves students at Winston-Salem State, Salem College and UNC School of the Arts – all of which are closed because of the virus. Currently no other changes have been made to the WSTA schedule.
The city of Winston-Salem, the Winston-Salem Foundation, the United Way of Forsyth County and Forsyth County are collaborating to support residents who suffer the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak. The city will match up to $1 million dollars donated to the new COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County. The fund has already received pledges from foundations and local corporations, institutions and individuals totaling more than $600,000. The fund is being administered by the Winston-Salem Foundation and is accepting donations of any amount. You can contribute at COVID19Forsyth.org. Read more about the fund.
To fill in the gaps in the emergency feeding programs at local schools, the city’s recreation department is working with Second Harvest Food Bank to start offering evening meals Friday, March 20, for those 18 and under. The meals will be available outside eight city recreation centers and are listed on our website. Read more and see the list of sites.
Six members of the city council and two city employees, who all attended a National League of Cities conference last week in Washington, D.C., are staying at home through March 26 after learning from the NLC that two of the conference attendees have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. They have implemented this voluntary self-isolation as a precaution. None of our council members or staff had any known exposure to anyone who has tested positive for the virus. And none are exhibiting symptoms almost a week after returning from the conference.
Mayor Joines and other community leaders are holding a news conference at 2 p.m. today to announcing a community initiative to help residents affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus. Details will be posted when they are available.
With the threat of COVID-19 depressing patronage at local stores and restaurants, Mayor Allen Joines is urging city residents to shop a local businesses and use alternative ways to support local restaurants. Many restaurants are offering take-out service and some have a drive-up option where they’ll hand off your order through the car window. Call ahead and see if these options are available.
If you need to do business with the city, remember that most business with the city can be conducted online or over the phone. If you’re not sure, call CityLink at 311 or 727-8000. As a precautionary measure, the city is asking citizens to avoid coming in to City Hall and the Stuart Building if at all possible.
Citizens who need to make payments have four options without coming into the Revenue Center in the Stuart Building: 1. Pay online. 2. Use the drive-through window at the Stuart Building or the Black-Phillips-Smith Government Building at Patterson & Glenn; 3. Use the payment drop-box at the top of the Stuart Building’s employee entrant ramp on Church Street; 4. Call CityLink and have an agent process your payment.
City Manager Lee Garrity has formed a COVID-19 task force to manage the city’s response in order to maintain essential city services and promote the safety of the public and city employees as outlined in the city’s Continuity of Operations Plan.
City officials anticipate that the closure of schools and day-care centers will impact some city employees with children who are not able to find alternative child-care arrangements. Department heads have been given the discretion to develop alternate work schedules and shifts to ensure sufficient staffing to maintain essential city services.
Citizens who would like contactless payments for utilities or other services should use the city’s online payment system. Payment by check or cash can be made at the city’s drive-through payment windows on the back side of the Bryce A. Stuart Municipal Building (100 East First Street) or at the Black-Philips-Smith Government Office (2301 North Patterson Avenue). There is also a night depository at the Stuart Building near the Church Street employee entrance.
Citizens who want to pay in-person can visit the Bryce A. Stuart Municipal Building, 100 East First Street, Suite 121. A face covering is required for building entry. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit the Revenue counter, or request assistance at Utilities Customer Service.
City Link will remain open to receive citizen requests, process payments and provide information. Call 336-727-8000 or 311 within city limits.
- Bulky item collection is canceled for the rest of 2020. Read more.
- Litter collection is suspended until further notice.
- Watch COVID-19 rollout garbage collection tips. Mira en español.
- Proactive housing and environmental code enforcement are suspended until further notice.
- Existing housing rehabilitation projects will continue. However, the Community Development Department will suspend accepting new applications, including emergency repairs.
Human Resources (Jobs)
Human Resources cannot accept walk-ins for job applications due to the closure of the Stuart Building. It is still accepting applications online.
On-street parking enforcement resumed on October 5. Tickets are being issued for violations.
- The Police Department will continue to respond to life-saving emergencies, serious crimes in progress, crimes against persons, death investigations and other calls for service.
- The Fire Department has suspended response to medical calls at assisted living facilities. County EMS will provide first response for these calls.
Routine street & drainage maintenance is suspended until further notice. Emergency work will continue to be performed.
- Charges for late fees resumed October 1. If you cannot pay by your due date, you must enroll in a payment plan. Monthly installments plus all new bills must be paid on time to avoid late fees and/or disconnection. Enroll by calling CityLink at 336-727-8000. You also can enroll in-person at the Bryce A. Stuart Municipal Building, 100 East First Street, Suite 121. You must wear a face covering to enter the building.
- Residents can call City Link to set up water service.
- The 3RC EnviroStation is open with some restrictions.
Mowing and landscaping are suspended until further notice.
WSTA is running its Saturday schedule (6 a.m. to midnight) every day except Sunday. Routes 83 Express, 88, 95, 98, 100, 102 and 110 are not running. If you need help finding an alternate route, call WSTA at 336-727-2000.
As part of the city’s Level 3 response plan, a variety of administrative and support functions not specified above have been suspended since Monday, April 6.
Masks/Face Coverings Required
Masks or face coverings are required inside enclosed city-owned or city-leased government buildings. This requirement also includes city-owned parking decks, the Clark Campbell Transportation Center and Winston-Salem Transit Authority buses. Masks are not required in open-air facilities, such as basketball and tennis courts, golf courses or picnic shelters. While masks are not required for pools and pool decks, they are required in pool bathhouses. View mask order (PDF). View list of all facilities requiring masks (PDF).
Recreation & Parks
- All recreation centers are closed to the public except for day camps at some facilities. Read more details. A special youth evening meal program is being offered at some centers; see full list and details.
- Playgrounds, outdoor basketball courts, the Skate Park and shelter rentals are open. Outdoor groups are limited to 50 or fewer under North Carolina guidelines.
- Salem Lake is open to fishing and boating, and its bait shop and its restrooms are open. All other Salem Lake buildings remain closed.
- The Bethabara Park Visitors Center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12-4 p.m. Park tours are by appointment only.
- The Cricket's Nest Craft Shop is open under modified hours. Shoppers must wear a mask and maintain social distancing. The shop is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Seniors only will be allowed to shop from 9 - 10 a.m.
- All buildings at the Joe White Tennis Center are closed.
- Winston Lake and Reynolds Park golf courses are open.
Public Assembly Facilities
- The Winston-Salem Fairgrounds has reopened for the Farmers Market and select events. Visit wsfairgrounds.com for a complete list.
- The Benton Convention Center has reopened with a wide variety of new measures put in place. Up to 100 people can be seated in the Winston and Salem ballrooms and in Piedmont Hall. Read more provisions and details.
- Truist (formerly BB&T) Ballpark and Bowman Gray Stadium remain closed.
The 3RC EnviroStation is open with some restrictions. Read more.
- Maintain social distancing (6 feet away from others) when out in public.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
- Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 Information
- NC Department of Health & Human Services COVID-19 Information
- Forsyth County Department of Public Health
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Coronavirus Rumor Control
- NC 211
- Mask The City
Local Phone Numbers
Please call your primary doctor or the following numbers if you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Forsyth County Department of Public Health: 336-582-0800
- Novant Health: 877-499-1697
- Wake Forest Baptist Health: 336-70-COVID (336-702-6843)
- LliBott Consultarios Medicos: 336-792-1515
COVID-19 Business Information - via Office of Business Inclusion & Advancement
Local Food Resources
Community meals, food pantries, groceries & financial assistance resources - via Think Orange