By Nathan Ham
Blowing Rock Mayor Charlie Sellers is hoping to get more information from the state on how the town should be prepared to deal with returning summer residents and how to properly and safely reopen the town.
Sellers penned a letter to Drew Christy, the Director of the North Carolina Governor’s Western Office, located in Asheville, for more guidance on the issue.
“The letter is addressing the governor needing to come up with more detailed information on cases and how do we move forward from here getting the economy up and running again,” said Sellers. “Nobody knows anything. The cases are still increasing. We need some plans moving forward because we are going to get visitors – whether we are open or not – they’re coming.”
Sellers added that the current 14-day quarantine for seasonal residents instituted by Watauga County will remain in place regardless of the current date of April 30 for Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order to end.
“I think we need plans going forward to come up with some ideas for soft openings, upcoming restrictions, implementation and enforcement of restrictions. Everybody is asking what do we do next and when do we do it,” the mayor said.
Mayor Sellers’ letter is below
Good morning Mr. Christy;
Hope you and your family are doing well through these unfortunate times. I am aware you have the governor’s ear on many issues that impact the western sections of our state so I feel it is time to voice my concerns of which I am confident you will pass on to Governor Cooper. I am sure our concerns in the High Country of NC are very similar to yours in the Asheville area.
First, our seasonal residents are returning from all areas of the south and we need the support and recommendations from Raleigh to handle and manage the needs of our full-time residents and returning seasonal residents. The High Country implemented 14-day self-quarantine for residents returning from outside of Watauga County which many people seem to be adhering too, moving forward there is no way our public officials can handle the influx of returning residents and visitors. In addition, most of our residents are in the high-risk category.
Second, As you and the Governor are aware from your visits to the High Country our primary source of revenue is providing nonessential services (restaurants, gift shops, short term rentals, overnight accommodations and tourist attractions). We need to be working on a plan with the assistance of Raleigh to begin opening on a limited basis with protective measures in place.
In closing, I commend the governor, all of his staff and most of all our health care professionals and all front line personnel for the services they have provided and the risk that they have taken through this unfortunate event.
I have attached a memo from a number of state representatives for your review.
Mayor of Blowing Rock North Carolina