Jackson County Commissioners order 14-day quarantine for out of state visitors

Jackson County Commissioners released a revised supplemental emergency order today that mandates any visitor returning to Jackson County from an overnight stay must self-quarantine for 14 days before entering the community for groceries, gas, or food. The order went into effect today at 5 p.m.

“The decision was clear,” said JC Commissioner Chair Brian McMahan. “In order to save lives and limit the spread of the disease, these actions were needed. Jackson County is a place where the people value the sense of community. Neighbors helping neighbors is what we do best here in the mountains. This same mindset will help get us through this public health crisis.”

This order does NOT apply to JC residents working essential jobs or providing essential services out of state and provided they are maintaining social distancing and limited contact.

This order also does NOT apply to those working essential jobs or providing essential services in Jackson County while they reside out of state.

JC Commissioners first approved an emergency order on March 27 mandating a 14-day quarantine for out of state visitors, but revised that order on March 30 to include several exemptions.

“This is a fluid situation that changes every day,” said JC Commissioner Ron Mau. “We’re trying to protect the safety of everyone in Jackson County and sometimes people get left out. We have a lot of people who provide essential services in Jackson County who live in S.C., so we needed to address those out of state workers in this revised order.”

McMahan added workers allowed to work in JC and return home to another state must adhere to national, state, and local guidelines regarding COVID-19.

“Please follow the advice, it is very simple and can save lives,” said McMahan. “Exercise good sanitation efforts. Maintain the 6-foot social distance requirement when out in public. Stay home as much as possible.”

The order went into effect at the same time N.C. Governor Roy Cooper’s stay at home order did, 5 p.m. on March 30 (today).

To read full article on Gov. Cooper’s stay at home order click HERE.

To learn more about COVID-19 from Jackson County Department of Public Health click HERE.

Stay tuned to Plateau Daily News as more information becomes available.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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Frequently asked questions from Jackson County residents:

What does this Order mean?

It means that movement is restricted for all residents of North Carolina to stay at their place of residence except that they may leave to provide or receive essential services or engage in essential activities and work for essential businesses and government services. It restricts travel upon public streets, alleys, or roadways or other property expect by those providing essential services, engaged in essential business or essential activities or by those in need of medical assistance, food or other commodity or service necessary to sustain the well-being of themselves or their families or some member thereof.

Why did Governor Roy Cooper issue this Order?

The Office of Governor Roy Cooper issued this order to ensure the maximum number of people stay home while allowing essential services, essential businesses, and essential activities to continue to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

What can and can’t you do under this Order?

North Carolina residents CAN:

  • Go to the grocery, convenience, or warehouse stores
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medication or other necessities
  • Visit a healthcare provider for medical services that can’t be provided virtually. Make sure to call your healthcare provider prior to visiting.
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery, or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog, fish, or be in nature for exercise. Engage in other outdoor activities while maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone get to necessary supplies

North Carolina residents CANNOT:

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined in this Order
  • Travel except for essential travel and activities as defined in this Order
  • Visit family or friends unless there is an urgent need
  • Get closer than 6 feet of distance from each other when you go out
  • Visit family or friends in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on each facility’s website

When will this Order be lifted?

The Order is valid for thirty (30 days) but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated by the Office of Governor Roy Cooper. It can be revised, amended, or extended.

Essential activities, business, and travel

Essential activities include those that are:

  • For health and safety
  • To get necessary supplies and services
  • For outdoor activities
  • For work for essential businesses and/or operations
  • To take care of others

Essential businesses and services include:

  • Healthcare, public health, law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
  • Food, beverage, and agriculture
  • Manufacturing, production, processing, cultivation including farming, livestock, fishing, backing, distribution of animals and goods for consumption, providing food, shelter, and other necessities for animals
  • Stores that sell groceries, household necessities, and medicine
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations including food banks, when providing food and shelter, social services, and other necessities for life for economically disadvantaged or needy individuals, individuals who need assistance, and people with disabilities
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Airports, taxis, public transportation, vehicle renting, ride-sharing companies
  • Public works
  • Communication and information technology
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Auto supply, auto repair, and related facilities; bicycle shops and related


  • Financial institutions
  • Banks, currency exchange, consumer lenders, including but not limited to payday lenders, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders, sales finance lenders, credit unions, financial markets, trading and future exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions and institutions selling financial products
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades
  • Building and construction, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and government properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities, and essential businesses
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick up services
  • Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services to end users through commercial channels
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off site
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for essential businesses and operations
  • Homebased care and services
  • Homebased care for adults, seniors, children, people with disabilities
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Legal, accounting, insurance, real estate
  • Childcare centers
  • Manufacture, delivery, and supply chain
  • Lodging facilities with work-related, homeless shelter, or emergency facility exemptions as pursuant to the Jackson County Supplemental Declaration of a Local State of Emergency
  • Funeral services
  • Other community-based human service operations
  • Hazardous materials

Essential travel includes:

  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to essential activities, essential government functions, essential business/services, or minimum basic operations
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from education institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including transport children pursuant to a custody agreement
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside of the County.

Nonessential business and travel

What does this mean for non-essential businesses?

Non-essential businesses may continue to operation, provided the do so via curbside, delivery, mail order, or virtual/web service only with no in-store customer traffic. All businesses in North Carolina, except essential businesses, are to cease all activities in North Carolina except minimum basic operations. Businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residence (i.e. working from home).

What do I do if my business is considered non-essential but is requiring me to report to


First, confirm that your business is indeed considered non-essential. If you have questions, call the EOC at 828-631-HELP from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.


How will this Order be enforced?

Law enforcement in Jackson County will enforce this order through education, dialogue, and seeking voluntary compliance with all residents, businesses, and those who visit and are traveling through Jackson County.

How do I report a violation of this Order?

To report a violation of this Order, you should call Jackson County Sheriff’s Office dispatch at 828-586-1911.


What are minimum basic operations?

The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the businesses’ inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s grounds, property and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate the employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences. Minimum business operations for businesses, facilities, and entities are permitted under this Order.

Am I allowed to travel?

Yes. You are allowed to travel for the purposes of essential business and essential activities.

Do I need a document that allows me to travel?

No. You do not need any such document.

Can people travel through Jackson County?

People are allowed to go back and forth, in and out of Jackson County. People are allowed come to or return to their Jackson County homes, or a common stay in their home/property.That is allowed.

Can I go check on my business or property?


Is the Farmer’s Market still open?

Yes, the Farmer’s Market is still open because it is considered a food provider. Everyone is encouraged to still practice social distancing.

Am I allowed to go outside to exercise?

Yes. You are allowed to go outside to exercise but must maintain at least 6 feet from others.

Is there a curfew associated with this Order?


Can religious organizations continue to live stream services?

Yes. Religious organizations can continue to live stream services provided that they abide by the restriction of 10 or less people physically onsite while maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between people present as pursuant to the Jackson County Supplemental Declaration of a Local State of Emergency.

Can I visit a loved one in the hospital, nursing home, etc.?

No. You cannot visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facilities, or other residential care facilities except for limited exceptions as provided by the specific facility. If you have questions about the exceptions, call the facility.

Does this Order apply to the homeless?

No. The homeless are exempt from this Order but are urged to contact 828-631-HELP for assistance in finding shelter.

Why are there still listing on Airbnb/Homeaway/VRBO vacation rental sites if it is


The County declaration closing accommodations on March 25 (with few exemptions noted in the Declaration) also applies to vacation rentals. Vacation rentals are not permitted to remain open under that order.

  • Once the March 25 Jackson County Declaration was issued, the Jackson County TDA emailed the entire lodging database with the Order.
  • JCTDA supplied that database to Emergency Management and Law Enforcement for enforcement of that Order
  • Jackson County emailed contacts at Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO and others asking them to remove listings per the Order.
  • As of today, some of those listings remain active and the county is waiting on a reply from online rental firms such as Airbnb. With over 20,000 cities and 3,000 counties in the US it would create a logistical challenge to filter the terms of each city/county order and review the legal language for each. Instead online vacation rental firms rely on hosts (the people renting the homes/rooms) to comply with their local rules and regulations and it may take some time for all of them to learn about and understand the Order and to update their listings.


Under this Order, all residents of North Carolina are to remain home unless you are:

  • Going to the doctor or vet
  • Grocery shopping for yourself or others
  • Going to the pharmacy
  • Exercising outdoors
  • Picking up food from a restaurant drive thru or takeout
  • Caring for a friend or family member

While this Order is in place:

  • DO NOT go to work unless you are providing an essential service
  • DO NOT visit friends and family unless it is urgent
  • DO NOT gather in public places
  • DO NOT visit people in the hospital, nursing home, or other care facilities

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