The Mitchell County Government announced Tuesday, March 24, the suspension of all short-term rentals until further notice due to the threat of coronavirus.
The measure is an attempt to slow the spread of the virus by prohibiting at-risk people from areas where Covid-19 is prevalent from seeking refuge in Mitchell County. The decision was announced in a news release endorsed by Mitchell County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Matthew “Vern” Grindstaff, Toe River Health District Director Diane Creek, Mitchell County Emergency Management Director Kolby Silver and county attorney Lloyd Hise.
“As the situation continues to develop and new cases are reported throughout the state and the Western North Carolina region, our local government continues to be proactive in taking the necessary steps to stem the spread of the disease through all appropriate means,” according to the press release. “At this time, Mitchell County Government, and public health and safety officials are requesting the use of all short-term rentals be suspended in Mitchell County until further notice effective as of the date of this announcement, March 24, 2020.”
Suspending short-term rentals is consistent with the actions taken by other communities across the state and nation to stem the spread of COVID-19 as a result of human travel, according to the press release.
“Human travel promotes the spread of the disease, and the presence of visitors in Mitchell County has the potential to exacerbate the strain on our limited healthcare facilities caused by it,” according to the release. “This request is in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in a manner and at a pace that overwhelms the state and Mitchell County’s ability to respond effectively in the coming days.”
The county government acknowledged in the press release the burden such a measure could place on the hotel and short-term rental sector of the local economy.