AVERY COUNTY — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a looming threat to the health and safety of the people of Avery County. Avery County Government continues to be proactive in taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of the disease through all appropriate means, according to a March 25 press release from Avery County government.

Effective at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Avery County government, the Health Department, Emergency Management, and Sheriff’s Office required that lodging facilities, such as air bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, timeshare units, condos, motels, hotels, and other rental programs or places where leases or rentals are for less than one month in duration, be suspended in Avery County until April 18, 2020, according to the release. This action is consistent with actions taken by other communities across the state and nation to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus due to human travel.

According to the release, “Human travel promotes the spread of this disease and the presence of visitors in Avery County has the potential to exacerbate the spread of the virus and the anticipated strain on our limited health care facilities caused by it.” In addition, “This suspension is to assist in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in a manner and at a pace that overwhelms the County’s ability to respond effectively in the coming days.”

The release did note exemptions related to work-related stays, emergency facilities and homeless shelters. “We understand that rentals for work-related stays for construction workers or other essential services already in place will need to continue. We also recognize the need to allow the use of hotels and other facilities for emergency service workers, essential service workers, displaced residents needing shelter, and other response and mitigation efforts related to COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks,” the release stated.

Additionally the release noted, “We realize this places a burden on the hotel accommodations and short-term rental sector of our economy and this requirement is not made lightly,” and that “the County will be constantly monitoring the need for this and may lift the requirement earlier if it is not needed to protect the public health.”

Business owners or individuals with questions regarding the supplemental declaration may call Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier at (828) 733-8201.

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