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Barriers Preventing Travel To Andrews Are A Hazard, Says Mayor

Courtesy of James Reid
Mayor James Reid announced the change on Facebook Live on Tuesday afternoon - as a truck behind him drove down the wrong side of the road.


(Update 4/24) The town of Andrews has terminated all state of emergency declarations including the removal of the barriers to nonresidents into town. 

(Update 4/23) The town of Andrews in Cherokee County has announced that it will keep roads closed to anyone who is from outside Cherokee, Clay, and Graham Counties in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, Mayor James Reid announced that the road closures were a traffic hazard but today's order states that it "remains necessary to reduce the possible COVID-19 carriers to the town."

(Published 4/15) The town of Andrews in Cherokee County is relaxing one part of its order allowing only locals into town. 

Mayor James says he’s concerned that the physical barriers erected to stop anyone who is from outside Cherokee, Clay, and Graham Counties from entering are now a traffic hazard. The

“We’re more terrified of someone getting in a car wreck than we are of keeping people out of Andrews. I think this has done the job that we wanted it to do,” says Reid on Facebook.  

While Reid was live on Facebook, a truck behind him drove around a barrier to go down the wrong side of the road toward an oncoming car. No one was injured.

So the barriers are coming down.  


“We’re all still very worried about the virus and very worried about what is being done. But I have to look out for the safety of the citizens of Andrews,” says Reid.  


Reid says signs stating “Local Traffic Only” will be erected at town entrances. 

 Cherokee County has one of the highest numbers of COVID cases west of Buncombe County with an official count of 12 cases and one death. The Cherokee County Health Department has announced that “community spread” is believed to be happening in the county. 

This is when the source of the infection for an individual is not known. 

Recently, two notices have been put out to warn residents that an employee at a local store has now tested positive for COVID-19. If you have visited the Lowe’s location in Murphy or The Local Market in nearby Clay County, consult the dates listed to see if you should self-quarantine. 

Cherokee County Health Department says that to slow community spread anyone who does not have an essential need to go out into the public should stay at home and limit all unnecessary contacts.


Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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