BOONE — Due to the increased and rapid spread of COVID-19 in Watauga County, Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina announced Oct. 5 that it is taking proactive measures to keep the residents, staff and community safe.
Until further notice, Hospitality House will be limiting access to its Brook Hollow Road facility to staff members, residents who presently live at Hospitality House, current interns, career volunteers and emergency personnel. Additionally, they are not accepting new volunteers at this time.
Individuals and families currently experiencing homelessness in the counties of Ashe, Wilkes, Avery, Watauga, Mitchell, Yancey and Alleghany should call (828) 264-1237, ext. 0 to inquire about availability. The agency continues to prioritize families with children and individuals with higher vulnerability and will make every attempt to house them.
“We are taking this temporary step out of an abundance of caution,” states Hospitality House executive director Tina B. Krause. “Our diligence with sanitation, mask wearing and social distancing has paid off so far, with no resident having tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. We are working to keep it that way.”
Nonresident community members who utilize Hospitality House Day Services such as meals, showers, laundry, computer, telephone, lockers and medical supplies will have limited access. Community Kitchen breakfast, lunch and dinner meals will be served in takeout containers, along with coffee, bottled water and disposable cutlery, on a table outside the front entrance. Current residents will continue to have meals served in takeout containers in the dining room.
Nonresidents will be allowed access to showers and lockers, two at a time, one may enter the nonresident male bathroom and one may enter the nonresident female bathroom. Only two nonresidents will be allowed in the building at a time. They may access their locker for additional clothing during this time, but no other area of the building may be accessed, including the dining room.
A port-a-john is being made available outside of Hospitality House for nonresident use. The laundry room, public computer and telephone will be inaccessible during this time.
The Emergency Food Pantry, which has seen an increased demand of nearly 50 percent since March, remains open seven days a week from 12 — 4 p.m. as a drive-thru service only. Clients accessing the pantry should remain in their vehicle and must be properly wearing a mask at all times. Walk-up clients must maintain a distance of at least six feet away and must be wearing a mask at all times. There are no limitations on county of residence.
Director of Development Todd Carter adds, “Hospitality House remains steadfast in our mission; committed to the health, safety and welfare of the homeless population in our seven mountain county region. We operate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week providing a vital safety-net for thousands of people in need, we are committed to adapting; however necessary, to meet those needs throughout this pandemic.”
For the latest updates and ways to help, visit HospHouse.org/covid19 and follow us on social media such as, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok at @hosphouse and Twitter @HospHouseNWNC.
Community members wishing to donate food, blankets and other items are encouraged to shop the Hospitality House Amazon Wishlist HospHouse.org/wishlist or drop off items at a table on the rear loading dock then call the front desk (828) 264-1237 ext. 0 making a staff member aware of their donation.