Property owners who travel to Watauga County must self quarantine upon arrival effective March 31

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Moss Brennan, Political Editor

Effective 5 p.m. March 31, all residents and non-residents of Watauga County arriving for overnight stays are ordered, while present in the Watauga County, to self-quarantine for 14 days or until 7 days after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer, if arrival was preceded by overnights outside the county.

The only exceptions to this provision are the commuting “essential” workforce and emergent response as coordinated through the Watauga County emergency services director, AppHealthCare director, and the sheriff or their designees.

“We understand that all non-permanent property owners have rights, and we are working hard to prevent further impacts of this pandemic in our community,” Deron Geouque, county manager, said in a press release.

Short-term rentals were suspended March 26 with some limited exceptions. AppHealthCare said in a press release that this additional measure is intended to reduce exposure to the entire community.

These new guidelines will be incorporated as part of the existing Watauga County state of emergency that is in effect through the course of this public health emergency. Governor Roy Cooper placed a statewide stay at home order that is in effect, this local order, which is more restrictive, and must be followed, according to the release.

“While we are hopeful that people will voluntarily comply, state and local law enforcement will be tasked with enforcement of this order and may result in a Class 2 misdemeanor,” according to the press release.

“It is in the best interest of everyone to stay in their primary residence and avoid non essential travel at this time, but if they are insistent, we are requiring this period of self-quarantine to protect our broader community,” Jennifer Greene, health director at AppHealthCare, said in a press release.