Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville opens doors to support the community during pandemic

Harrahs Cherokee Center Asheville graphic



The City of Asheville and Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville announced this month the launch of multiple efforts to provide support to citizens of Asheville and Buncombe County.  Although all events have been cancelled or postponed until June 5, the venue has opened its doors to provide a home for multiple COVID-19 support initiatives, including the Ready Team COVID-19 Call Center, a short-term shelter for those without homes for up to 50 pre-screened individuals in conjunction with Homeward Bound, and a Point of Distribution (POD) of COVID-19 resources for the City of Asheville. 


“For 80 years, our venues have served as a beacon for entertainment, music, and arts in Western Carolina. Now, it’s our duty to serve as a source of comfort, support, and relief to our community.” said Chris Corl, General Manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville. Along with numerous city and county staff, Corl is actively participating in multiple initiatives being assessed and executed by Buncombe County’s Emergency Operations Center.


The Ready Team COVID-19 Call Center is located at the venue and is led by venue and other City of Asheville staff in conjunction with the Buncombe County Emergency Operations Center. The Ready Team provides real-time information and resource support to concerned citizens on topics such as the Stay Home Stay Safe orders, current CDC guidelines, and other matters specific to Buncombe County. Local residents may share their questions by phone 828-419-0095 (8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday) and via email (ready@buncombecounty.org). This service is available in Spanish, Russian, and multiple other languages thanks to a further partnership with United Way’s 211 Call Center.


“The Ready Team is committed to providing guidance and resources, empathy and reassurance to our local community,” said Meredith Benjamin, Information Assistant from the Emergency Operations Center. “We are touched by the stories of proactivity and offers of support we receive from Buncombe County residents everyday.”     


Food items are visible through the window at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville, which is serving multiple purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shelter initiative is able to provide a refuge for about 50 individuals without permanent residences during the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our community. The project, approved on April 6, is supported by the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, Homeward Bound, and Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville. “Providing safe options for those in need of housing is a top priority during this public health emergency,” said City Spokeswoman Polly McDaniel. 


The Point of Distribution provides a single location to store COVID-19 response supplies for all the City of Asheville departments working in support and relief capacities. “Having a single location makes it more efficient for the Asheville Fire Department to manage the intake and distribution of supplies to employees,” said Chris Corl.

For more information about COVID-19 support resources in Buncombe County, visit BuncombeCounty.org.

For venue-specific information and updates: 


About Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville

Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville (HCCA), owned and operated by the City of Asheville, is Western North Carolina’s preeminent multi-purpose event facility. With more than 200 days of events and drawing  225,000+ people annually, HCCA continues to support the vitality of the region as a whole and the vibrant downtown of Asheville, N.C. The venue is home to the ExploreAsheville.com Arena and the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, celebrating its 80th year anniversary in 2020. For more information about the venue and the upcoming events, visit HarrahsCherokeeCenterAsheville.com.