Boone reinstates indoor mask mandate, mayor announces state of emergency

BOONE, N.C. — Mayor Rennie Brantz announced last week a state of emergency in the town of Boone that includes a mask mandate regardless of vaccination status.

The Town Council voted in a Friday meeting to reinstate the mask mandate due to the rise of COVID-19 cases and concerns about the delta variant. According to the declaration, Watauga County is considered to have “substantial” transmission and nearby counties have “high transmission.”

Starting Tuesday at 5 p.m., everyone older than 2 will be required to wear a mask in indoor public areas.

>> Click here for the full state of emergency declaration.

Channel 9 found that several downtown Boone businesses had started putting up signs letting people know masks will now be required.

“We all kind of got use to not wearing masks again,” Matthew Morell with Appalachian Sportswear said. “I’m thankful for people watching over us and that we’re all safe.”

The change comes as more than 20,000 students are set to return to campus this week at Appalachian State University.

On campus, dozens of students have begun moving into residence halls. Before going inside, masks are now required for both students who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.

The same is true at all campus buildings where signs are posted, and hand sanitizers are in place.

Most of the students who Channel 9 spoke with believe the precautions on and off campus make sense.

“I think it’s alright because I hope we don’t shift back to last year -- all online,” said student Morgan Lail. “I feel like that was really not good for everyone.”

“As long as everyone follows the rules and is taking precautions, then I think it will be OK,” said fellow student, Addison Hartley.

The Town Council also said the Boone Police Department will continue to assist private businesses if they choose to enforce additional COVID-19 measures.

North Carolina continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

(Watch Below: CDC recommends vaccinated people wear masks in areas of ‘high transmission’)