Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor announced that a Highlands Town Hall employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. All of the town hall’s employees - about 10 including the mayor - have now been tested and are awaiting results. Taylor says the employee had been working from home but had been in the office intermittently.
Taylor says that he supports the new mandatory order for masks in public.
“The research is pretty clear now if everyone would wear a mask, we could really curtail the spread of the virus,” says Taylor.
Macon County has the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases in the region with about 260 cases.
The region is a tourist destination from nearby Georgia and South Carolina.
“My concern is that tourists who come in are not going to be concerned about coming here and spreading the virus as much as our permanent residents,” says Taylor. “Hopefully we can motivate these visitors to participate in what we are trying to do.
More than 5 local businesses in Highlands have had employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, says Taylor.
Under the executive order, businesses will be able to enforce face coverings within their facilities and can ask customers to leave if they will not comply.
Taylor says that Highlands law enforcement will seek to educate and encourage folks to wear a face covering before taking any other action.