The Town of North Wilkesboro announced Tuesday that its town hall will reopen to the public on Monday. Town hall has been closed to the general public since spring of 2020 to protect town employees from exposure to COVID-19.

A press release from the town stated, “With case counts down from peak levels, most town hall employees vaccinated, and physical protective devices installed in public areas, the risk of exposure is now lower.”

“I’m so thankful to the community for their acceptance of this unusual but necessary step over the last year and a half,” said Town Manager Wilson Hooper. “They know that town hall employees are their neighbors, family, and friends, and that limiting access to the town hall was important to protect the health of the town’s team members.”

Hooper continued: “An open and accessible town hall is an important symbol of good government. But even more important than that is an actual functioning government, which was endangered during the height of the pandemic when one infected individual coming through the front door could’ve taken out our entire staff. Protective measures in place, including a request that visitors wear masks, should minimize the possibility of that occurring now.”

As the contagious Delta variant circulates and with the Omicron variant emerging, the the town is requesting that visitors to the town hall wear masks while in the building.

“Due to the virus’s ability to spread from asymptomatic or even pre-symptomatic individuals, indoor public settings remain sites of possible transmission for unmasked individuals,” stated the release. “Visitors to the town hall lobby who do not wish to wear masks are asked to conduct their business at the payment window to the right of the building’s front entrance on Main Street.”

In addition to masks, some additional protective measures will remain in place. Public meetings of the board of commissioners will continue to offer limited seating to members of the general public to promote social distancing. Those meetings can be viewed virtually on the Downtown North Wilkesboro YouTube page. Visitors to the town manager, town clerk and town planner are asked to make appointments. Finally, the town reserves the right to again close town hall should a winter surge occur, according to the release.

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