Tourists pack the N.C. mountains, some locals fear surge in COVID-19 coming

Tourist crowds bring fear of upcoming COVID-19 spike in NC mountains

NEWLAND, N.C. (WBTV) - The annual Christmas rush of tourists to the North Carolina Mountains has not been affected by the coronavirus crisis, say officials.

There are traffic jams, ski areas sold out, lodging booked solid and restaurants at COVID-19 capacity with dozens of people waiting outside.

Katy Fletcher, who lives in Avery County says she is concerned all those visitors in town could lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

So far, that has not happened, say officials, but the impacts, if any, would likely not show up in COVID-19 test statistics for another week or two.

County Manager Phillip Barrier says he is confident businesses are doing what they are supposed to be doing to keep people safe.

He just hopes individuals will abide by CDC rules as well.

“Need to ask everyone to do their part to defeat this virus,” he said.

The boom in business is welcome, he said but people need to take the virus seriously.

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