Please shut down Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville until such time as mask mandates are no longer in effect.
On Friday, Oct. 29, I attended a sold-out concert at Harrah’s Center because face masks and proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test were required. I was surprised when I attended the concert that the vast majority of 6,500 people in attendance were not wearing face masks, and the city-owned venue is unable to enforce a face-mask requirement indoors. In fact, their announcement just prior to the concert commencing was that face masks are strongly encouraged.
I emailed our City Council members to ask if they had made the change from face masks required to strongly encouraged, and I am still waiting for a reply. Furthermore I added: Are you aware of this, and if so, what will or can you do about it? I urge you to place public safely ahead of revenue needs and not resume events at Harrah’s Center until mask mandates are no longer in effect.
Their website should have a disclaimer for all of our protection to the effect of: “While masks are required for indoor activities, the city of Asheville is unable to enforce this mandate at Harrah’s Center. Please enter at your own risk and agree to hold Harrah’s and the city harmless in the event of COVID-19 illness or death.” Perhaps a line as well agreeing: “In the event of death from attending an event at the venue, my successors or heirs will also hold them harmless.”
— Ian Rudick
Editor’s note: Xpress contacted city spokesperson Polly McDaniel with a summary of the letter writer’s points, and we received the following response: “The city of Asheville, including Harrah’s Cherokee Center, has worked closely with Buncombe County Public Health to follow each federal, state and local mandate. Staff at the entrance ensure that each person is wearing a mask and either has proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. The mask requirement is posted throughout the building and is stated in an email to attendees and on social media. Buncombe County and the city of Asheville encourage everyone to get vaccinated, as it is the No. 1 tool to fight against COVID-19, followed by regular testing and masks.”