By Charlotte Smith
Today, Brenda Clark, with the Town of White Lake, released the State of Emergency for the Town of White Lake declared by Mayor Womble this morning at 9:00 a.m.
She said in the release, “Working together; we can help lessen the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
Mayor Goldston Womble said, “As part of that pursuant to that emergency declaration, today, we will issue a Proclamation about the rentals. I think we are a little different than other towns because people are looking into possibilities of staying in our rental properties.”
The Proclamation the mayor is issuing will not allow non-resident property owners to come to the lake for the next 30 days, and it will prohibit short-term rentals with motels, rentals property, and camp grounds, according to Womble.
“We declared the State of Emergency so I can prohibit those short term rentals. We don’t want to overburden our local health care system,” Mayor Womble said, “We certainly don’t want to put our employees down at White Lake at greater risk, or our other residents at White Lake at greater risk.”
The local hospital has 28 beds, according to Womble. Local residents may need the beds in the hospital. Also, the mayor pointed to the fact the local stores are running into food shortages.
“The most important thing without any question is people bringing in the virus, and then the virus spreading here,” Womble said.
The Bladen County Health and Human Services Director, Dr. Terri Duncan, and the Emergency Services Director, Nathan Dowless have been in contact with the tourist town officials and also advised White Lake to discourage short term rentals, according to Womble.
Other resort locations have already implemented the same type of Proclamation. Some of those locations are Carolina, Topsail, and Wrightsville beaches.
“I felt like it is imperative that I go ahead and take some action on this. I don’t want to be reacting to the spread of Coronavirus at White Lake. I want to be acting so that we do not have to be reacting to the virus in the first place,” Womble said.
“We are going to do the best we can during these difficult times. We are encouraging people to stay at home to the extent that they are able to do so,” Womble said in closing.
The commissioners will meet Tuesday evening with a conference call for a budget workshop to practice social distancing.
There will be more information about the Proclamation and the upcoming Town of White Lake Commissioners meeting shortly.