The Boone Town Council Thursday approved amendments to the town's COVID-19 restrictions that would require anyone arriving in the town of Boone (except work commuters) who previously overnighted outside Watauga County not be allowed to enter establishments open to the public until they have stayed in the county uninterrupted for for at least 14 days.

Medical facilities, state and county government facilities are exempted. The Watauga Democrat reports the restriction applies to both residents and non-residents, whether visiting for the day or staying overnight, unless current testing confirms they are not COVID-19 positive.

The new amendments also require social distancing in all establishments open to the public, in all places of employment where possible, except for members of the same household. All employees working for places open to the public are required to wear masks and disinfect hands after each interaction.

People with a medical or behavioral condition or safety concern are exempted from the mask requirement.

Retail businesses that can do so must make aisles one way, restaurants must use disposable menus or disinfect menus after each use, employees of public establishments must be screened daily before they can begin work, and not permitted to work if they are COVID-19 positive or presumed positive due to symptoms until CDC criteria for isolation is met.

The amendments state that violations are punishable by a class 2 misdemeanor and that law enforcement officers are authorized to first issue warning citations.

The amended policy will remain in effect until  at least June 16.

The measures passed by a vote of 3 to 1. Councilperson Nancy Palaca voted against, and Councilperson Loretta Clawson was absent due to illness.