BOONE, N.C. (WJHL) — Boone, North Carolina Town Council leaders issued strict guidelines that triggered strong opposition from the community and businesses.
An emergency meeting of the Boone, N.C. Town Council was called Saturday morning after council members voted to amend the towns State of Emergency.
“Watauga County on Tuesday night issued a change to their State of Emergency that allowed for short term rentals and hotels to begin to operate at 50% capacity. At that time the Town of Boone began to talk about further restrictions,” said Chamber of Commerce CEO and President David Jackson.
Those further restrictions include a 14-day isolation period for both residents and visitors who have spent the night outside of Watauga County.
“Most of the measures they put in place we agree with, but the 14-day self-quarantine would’ve been disastrous and not effective,” said Lynne Mason, a former council member and business owner. “So, it would have hurt the economy, but at the same time there’s no way to monitor compliance with that.”
A temporary restraining order was filed against a part of the town of Boone’s amended State of Emergency.
“A group of businesses and hotels that work together with a local attorney filed a temporary restraining order, and that order was granted,” explains Jackson. “I don’t think anybody has a problem with the healthcare-specific elements of what they’re talking about from an implementation standpoint.
“Masks for employees, hand sanitizer, disposable menus, those types of things were being implemented, but shutting off the ability for visitors to be able to feel like they can safely come through here and do business is the big piece that I hope they reconsider.”
The temporary restraining order is in effect until June 1 and only applies to the 14-day isolation period.
Lynne Mason says her business has already suffered enough.
“We went to where I would call a thriving business to a surviving business,” Mason said.
Lost Province Brewing Company saw 80% of their sales drop in a matter of weeks and had to let go of over 50 employees.
Though they agree with the rest of the State of Emergency’s Healthy Practices plans, her husband, Andrew Mason, says a 14-day isolation period would be detrimental to the community businesses.
“We have the local population we have of course tourism and visitors and all three of those are really really important to keep Boone a thriving economic town,” said Andrew.
The town council met in a closed session on Saturday.
Members decided to hold a special called meeting on Tuesday at 9 a.m. to further discuss the State of Emergency.
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