NEWLAND — In response to the growing concerns over COVID-19, Avery County has issued a quarantine order for residents and visitors alike who are arriving to the county for overnight stays. The order was into effect at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1.
According to a county press release, all residents and non-residents of Avery County arriving for overnight stays are ordered to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days or seven days after symptoms have resolved while they are present within the county.
The only exceptions to the new provision are the workers who are deemed “essential” and must commute as part of their jobs, including the Avery County Office of Emergency Management, the Avery County Emergency Management Director, the Toe River Health Department Director and the Avery County Sheriff, as well as their designees.
In addition, the county is extending its suspension on short-term rentals. The extension also went into effect at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1. All lodging facilities, including hotels, motels, resorts, inns, guest houses, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, RV parks, vacation cabins, home rentals and all other short-term rentals or leases are to remain closed within the county and within its incorporated municipalities.
The exceptions for the closure falls under work-related stays related to business, medical construction, emergency services or other related serves. The mandate does not apply to homeless shelters or emergency facilities that are assisting with the response to COVID-19.
The closures are to remain in place until April 29, 2020, unless modified or extended.
Avery County Government, Emergency Management, the Avery County Health Department and Cannon Memorial Hospital continue to encourage part-time residents who stay in the county during certain times of the year to remain at their permanent residences. Officials are concerned that an influx in seasonal residents may strain county resources if an outbreak was to occur.
As of 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, no positive test results have been reported in Ashe and Avery counties, but all neighboring counties to Avery, including Mitchell, McDowell, Burke, Caldwell, Ashe and Watauga counties, as well as Carter and Johnson (Tenn.) counties, have reported positive tests for COVID-19.Avery County has updated its local state of emergency declaration to include the aforementioned mandates and provisions.