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LETTERS / Now is the Time for the Town of Boone to be Working With the County and Other Governmental Entities

To the Boone Town Council

On behalf of the 755 REALTORS comprising the High County Association of REALTORS®, we would encourage you to vote against the proposed indefinite extension of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all visitors coming to the area.

Your recent action to break away from the High Country’s unified response to the COVID-19 crisis is detrimental to both businesses and its citizens. While we fully understand the desire to address the current pandemic, the action should be based on science and facts. In that regard, the Watauga County Health Department, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have prepared a reasonable and cautious response, which is based on the available resources and consideration of the needs of our community. The Boone Town Council’s decision to unilaterally impose an indefinite 14-day quarantine and restrict residential occupancy is beyond the recommendations of the Governor, the County Commissioners, and the Health Director.

This decision adds to the confusion of who can come to Boone, where can they stay, for how long, and if they are “essential” or not. This will have a direct effect on the real estate industry in Boone, which will trickle down to our small town businesses (inspectors, attorneys, mortgage lenders, insurance carriers, movers, contractors, etc.) and even further to shopping, dining, and attractions.

High Country Association of Realtors has closed 34 residential listings which fall under the Town of Boone’s jurisdiction in 2020. In a recent study of NC real estate sales, each of those 34 sales has an economic impact of $75,312 to our area. At a time when our local businesses are hurting and many are deeply worried about their livelihoods and ability to support their families, the Town of Boone pushing more stringent restrictions than are needed strikes the wrong note. We agree with the Boone Chamber of Commerce that, before striking out on their own, the Boone Town Council should have been more transparent in their considerations and consulted with their citizens and taxpayers.

Now is the time for the Town of Boone to be working with the county and other governmental entities. We call upon the Boone Town Council to join the dialogue and work together through the ongoing discussions between Watauga County, surrounding towns, AppHealthCare, and the Appalachian District Health Dept. More than ever, we are all in this together, and Boone needs to join with the rest of the High Country in a united response to COVID-19 and all related economic impacts.

Pam J. Vines, 2020 HCAR President