Watauga County ends short-term rentals effective March 26


Courtesy of the CDC

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019

Moss Brennan, Reporter

In conjunction with towns of Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, Boone and Seven Devils, Watauga County is ending short-term rentals effective March 26 at 12 p.m. The measure is another attempt to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and lessen its impact on the community.

“We appreciate the solidarity between our municipalities and Watauga County to continue working together as we respond to this public health emergency. We carefully made this decision with public health in mind. We urge the public to please help us lessen the impact of COVID-19 here by staying home and practicing social distancing to the greatest extent possible,” Watauga County Commissioner John Welch said in a press release.

Watauga County’s state of emergency will reflect the change.

During the state of emergency in Watauga County, short-term rental property in the county is prohibited unless deemed allowable. If deemed allowable, an amendment will be issued.

According to the release, short-term rental properties include:

  • Air bed and breakfasts
  • Campgrounds
  • Timeshare units
  • Condos
  • Motels
  • Resorts
  • Inns
  • Guest houses
  • RV Parks
  • Vacation cabins
  • Home rentals
  • VRBO
  • Hotels
  • Other rental programs or places where leases for less than 30 days in duration.

The following are exceptions to the short-term rental policy:

  • Persons currently subject to a written rental agreement shall be able to remain for the rental period and shall be able to extend said period with no time limitation provided it is continuous.
  • The prohibition against short-term rentals shall not apply when work related accommodations are needed for the following:
  • Emergency personnel including, but not limited to law enforcement, EMTs, fire and rescue, 911 communications, and emergency management.
  • Federal, state and local government personnel.
  • Medical and public health personnel.
  • Any person, contractor, or service provider deemed necessary by the county manager to the response and recovery for COVID-19.
  • Construction workers.
  • Homeless shelters.
  • Emergency facilities, as determined by the county manager.
  • Any housing arrangements within facilities owned and operated by App State

“Please, help us protect the most vulnerable. We need you to stay home as much as possible and limit your trips to essential needs like the grocery store, pharmacy, or to pick up your necessities through a local business or to participate in the Watauga County Schools meal program,” said Jennifer Greene, health director at AppHealthCare, in a press release.