Masking rules take effect on public lands

On Jan. 20, President Joe Biden issued an executive order requiring coronavirus prevention protocols — including mask-wearing — on all federal lands and buildings. Now, management teams at National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service lands are deciding how to implement the new requirement locally. 

Anti-mask, anti-vax views raise concerns

One of the loudest voices against masks and vaccines during recent public comment sessions in Haywood County also serves on a nonprofit health care board that’s charged with managing more than $12 million of taxpayer money meant to support public health. 

Waynesville passes State of Emergency ordinance

A routine update to the Town of Waynesville’s State of Emergency ordinance finally passed on Dec. 8 after being tabled for weeks due to an uproar among anti-mask citizens who embarked on a marathon series of public comment sessions in fear that the town was also planning to enact a mandatory mask-wearing edict.

No time to let down our guard

If you’re feeling COVID fatigue, it’s no wonder. 

It seems this all started “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” We could be so lucky. In fact, it was one year ago, Nov. 17, 2019, that the first case of the novel coronavirus emerged was reported from a seafood market in Wuhan, China. At least that’s according to Chinese government data that was reported in the South China Morning Post.

Newspaper story fuels tumultuous Waynesville town meeting

A routine housekeeping measure intended to clarify who, exactly, can declare a State of Emergency on behalf of the Town of Waynesville — and, for what reasons — devolved into a disruptive shouting match over a non-existent “mask mandate.” Town officials, including Mayor Gary Caldwell, attribute all the fuss to a sensationalized story containing multiple inaccuracies.

Sylva considers, shelves mask mandate proposal

Amid a spike of coronavirus cases in October, some members of the Sylva town board advocated for passing a mask mandate for the downtown area during the Oct. 22 meeting. However, it now appears that such a mandate is unlikely to come to a vote — for the moment, anyway. 

Wishful thinking won’t get us out of this

Before wading into the murk of America’s bizarre tug of war with itself in the year of COVID-19, let’s first stipulate one thing: we’d all love for this to be over. Wearing masks, social distancing, arguing with people on social media over who and what to believe, some of us sweating out every decision on where we can go and who we can see and what we can do and not do any time we venture out of our little quarantine cocoons, others proceeding with their lives as if not one thing has changed. We’re just over it, OK?

COVID-19 cases curving up again

Haywood County Medical Director Dr. Mark Jaben has been keeping residents updated through the COVID-19 Pandemic with weekly video messages that offer hope and guidance for the future. 

SCC supports mask distribution efforts

On Monday, June 22, Southwestern Community College hosted Nantahala Health Foundation representatives as they set up a mask distribution site at the Burrell Building on the Jackson Campus.

Webster Enterprises produces for front lines of COVID-19

Webster Enterprises has long used the production of medical supplies as a vehicle for its main mission, vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities and disadvantages. 

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