Polk advises to cease short-term rentals

Published 4:35 pm Monday, March 30, 2020

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Issues mandatory quarantine upon returning to county

POLK COUNTY—Polk County officials issued an order on Monday that asks short-term rental businesses to cease operations and puts a mandatory quarantine on anyone who visits hot spot states upon returning.

Polk County Health Director Joshua Kennedy and Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge issued the order on Monday afternoon. The order goes into effect Monday at 5 p.m. through April 30.

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Following is the order:

Polk County Emergency Management Notice

Order of Health Director: Certain Individuals to Self-Quarantine and


Advice to Cease Short-Term Rentals


Polk County Emergency Management and Polk County Health and Human Services continue to monitor the growing number of cases nationwide and in the State of North Carolina. There is currently no known vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and these mitigation efforts are the best solution to prevent further spread and potential loss of life.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to pose a looming threat to the health and safety of the people of Polk County. It is now understood that there is community spread in North Carolina.  As the situation continues to develop and new cases are reported throughout the state of North Carolina, and, especially, in the foothills region, our local government continues to be proactive in taking the necessary steps to stem the spread of COVID-19 through all appropriate means.

Section 1 – Self-Quarantine Order

All individuals travelling to Polk County, or each of the municipalities in Polk County, from areas experiencing community transmission of COVID-19 as listed by the CDC (especially including the states of California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington) or have recently traveled in the last 14 days outside of the United States, must self-quarantine at their home or place of residence for a period of fourteen (14) days commencing immediately upon their arrival in Polk County or each of the municipalities herein before entering the community.

This Quarantine Order will be in effect commencing March 30, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and be valid through April 30, 2020, at 6:00 a.m., but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated and may be revised, amended, or extended accordingly based upon existing evidence and recommendations by the Health and Human Services Director, Emergency Management, and federal and state authorities.

Any person violating any prohibition or restriction imposed by this Order shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-288.20A.

This Order shall be posted at the Polk County Courthouse and distributed to mass communications media serving Polk County and each of its municipalities in order to bring its contents to the attention of the general public.

This Order will remain in effect until April 30, 2020 and will be re-evaluated at that time.


Section 2 – Cease of Short-Term Rentals

At this time, Polk County Emergency Management, along with public health and safety officials, have determined there is significant public health hazard related to the booking of short-term rentals. The duration of concern is for stays between March 31, 2020 to April 30, 2020. We recommend any current bookings during that period that have not arrived be cancelled.  This action is consistent with actions taken by other counties and other communities across the state and nation and done for the purpose of stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus due to human travel.  The best available medical evidence confirms that human travel promotes the spread of this disease and the presence of visitors in Polk County has the potential to increase the strain on the limited healthcare resources and facilities available within Polk County.  This recommendation is made to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a manner and at a pace that overwhelms the ability of Polk County and its healthcare partners to respond effectively in the coming days.

We realize this request places a burden on short-term rentals and those involved the accommodation sector of Polk County's economy and this request is not made lightly, but the imminent danger of COVID-19, if left unchecked by measures such as this, increases the potential for infection in our community


Thank You,



Bobby Arledge, Polk County Emergency Management Director



Joshua Kennedy, Polk County Health & Human Services Director