Highlands closes Hicks Road and encourages wearing protective masks in town

Hicks Road was closed this morning to prevent drivers from circumventing police checkpoints that were put in place to stop nonessential visitors from coming to Highlands. Residents who live on Hicks Road are allowed entry, but there is no thru traffic.

A sign posted at highway 64 and Flat Mountain Road alerts drivers that Hicks Road is closed.

People encouraged to wear masks in town

In addition to closing Hicks Road this morning, Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor said he is encouraging people to wear masks when they’re out in public in town to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

“We encourage people to use masks if you’re in town out in public,” said Taylor. “If you’re on a public street, sidewalk, or any other public space; please wear a mask.”

The mask does not need to be a certified piece of personal protective equipment (PPE), like the N95 mask used by medical professionals. It just needs to be something to cover your mouth and nose.

“Make one, use a scarf, grab a dust mask from your workshop; anything that will block droplets of saliva from your mouth spraying when you talk,” said Taylor. “This slows the transmission of the virus.”

Upcoming budget meeting

Highlands will hold a budget workshop next week and Taylor said given the current state of emergency, extreme caution will be used.

“We are going to plan a realistic budget,” said Taylor. “And we won’t have a lot of the numbers we normally do; things like sales tax, VRBO tax, those are taking a huge hit right now so we’re going to be cautious in our planning.”

The budget workshop will be available online and Taylor said he is not encouraging people to attend in person.

“This isn’t really one of those meetings the public needs to physically attend,” said Taylor. “We want people to stay informed, but it’s not the type of meeting with a lot of public comment.”

Pictured at the top of the article is a checkpoint manned by Highlands Fire & Rescue personnel along Hicks Road. Only residents are allowed entry. 

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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