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Avery County Manager Offers Statement and Closures/Business Revisions Due to Coronavirus

By Tim Gardner

Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr. said the County Manager’s Office intends to “continue offering services to our citizens and businesses as well as our visitors, while protecting the welfare of local employees and volunteers.”

Barrier, Jr. added that Avery County Government would like to share that Avery County Emergency Management and the Health Department are working with local officials, Cannon Hospital, Avery County School System, 911 Communications, EMS Ambulance Services, and fire and rescue to ensure and protect the health and well-being of Avery County citizens.

Meetings began last week and continue on an as needed basis.  Emergency Management will do weekly updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning March 17.

Health officials encourage good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene during this medical crisis.  These are the best preventive measures for this virus.  These include covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently with soap and water, staying home when you feel sick or when you have a fever and cleaning surfaces with sanitizing cleaners. 

Local and State-Wide impact of businesses and schools due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, include:

Avery County Schools are closed until at least March 30, by order of Governor Roy Cooper.

Mayland Community College will be closed for students on March 16, regular schedule for staff.

Avery County Transportation will run vans at this time, pending decision by upper levels of management.

All Cooperative Extension Meetings have been canceled until late April by order of the Avery County Management.

Attendants at the Solid Waste Collection Sites will not aid in the removal of household waste items from vehicles until further notice.

The Avery County Community Market, formerly the Pop-Up Market, WILL HAPPEN on Thursday, March 19, but will be moved from the Rock Gym to the parking lot of the Pool Complex for a drive-thru version of the Market.  All attendees are asked to stay in their car during this distribution.

The Avery County Parks & Rec Rock Gym will be closed for the next two weeks for painting and renovation.

All Avery High School and Middle School (Avery and Cranberry) athletic events are cancelled at this time due to the NCHSAA suspension of events.

Lees-McRae College all in-person classes, both on the main campus in Banner Elk and those held at Surry Community College, are canceled from Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 22. Online classes will begin Monday, March 23.

Grandfather Mountain will close for two weeks, effective Sunday, March 15. The closure means the park will prohibit public access, including from the main entrance gate and hiking trails.

Beech Mountain Resort closed for the winter season at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 15. All lift ticket, rental, and ski school reservations will be refunded immediately.

Ski Sugar has announced they will close at 4:30 pm Tuesday, March 17.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has suspended the spring season until April 6.

Per Order of Gov. Roy Cooper on March 14, all school systems in the state of NC are closed for at least two weeks (March 16-30) due to the Virus Outbreak.  Included in the order was an Executive Order limiting public gatherings to less than 100 persons. As of Sunday, March 15, the National Center for Disease Control has recommended that number to only 50 persons at any gathering.