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Here's the letter county wrote seeking authority to reopen business

Reflecting their constituents' anxiety about "extraordinarily gloomy employment futures" and "real fear over the likelihood of a slow and painful economic 'recovery' from which they will not personally recover," Henderson County commissioners asked Gov. Roy Cooper for the flexibility to begin reopening the local economy.

In a letter it sent Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners joined a growing number of local governing boards in the state seeking the authority to restart businesses and get people back to work. Commission Chair Grady Hawkins announced the request during a board meeting Wednesday when he also appointed commissioners Bill Lapsley and Rebecca McCall to lead a task force to make recommendations on the reopening.

"We have full appreciation of what you have done so far," Hawkins told Cooper in the letter. "Indeed, Henderson County's 'stay at home' emergency proclamation preceded and, in many ways, went beyond yours. But we also have an understanding that every local situation is different. In that light we ask that you allow North Carolina's counties to each map their own way forward, with the dual goals of continuing to avoid a Covid-19 catastrophe, while reopening our local economies and avoiding another catastrophe with potentially as devastating consequences."

Hawkins went on to explain in the letter that commissioners would work with the county's "two fine hospitals and highly capable Department of Public Health" and with state public health officials "to ensure that the health risk is adequately and reasonably addressed."

The county's request won the endorsement from state Rep. Jake Johnson, who also called on Cooper to give counties the flexibility to reopen business and industry.