HARTFORD—Cocke County’s eleven rafting companies now have no-touch thermal thermometers and sanitizer sprayers to help maintain healthy conditions at their businesses for this year’s expected tourists.

On Thursday, May 21, Cocke County EMA Director Joe Esway delivered the items to company owners during the annual inspection of the companies’ buses, rafts, and facilities.

Along with the sprayers, each company also received a gallon of sanitizer, courtesy of Ole Smokey Distillery.

Esway said the thermometers are “No Touch.” “Each one has been loaded with new batteries, changed from Celsius to Fahrenheit, and checked for proper operation,” he added.

The sprayers are for sanitizing company buses and vans between trips, he explained. “EMA will fill the sprayers and deliver them, and it will be up to the companies to refill as needed.”

The items are on loan to the companies for the season. At season’s end, they will be returned to the county for reallocation.

Company owners also received information regarding the Covid19 Grant for supplies to use for their briefings and safety classes attended by the public.

Esway also provided the companies with information regarding the acquisition of N-95 and/or surgical masks. “Cocke County is not in a position to give these out,” he said. “We simply do not have a supply on hand, but the Cocke County Health Department will give each resident a cloth mask free of charge.”

Employees of the rafting companies may also be tested by the health department. Esway told the companies, “If you plan to bus several employees in for testing, we recommend you call ahead and ensure they can accommodate the number you are bringing.”

Eighty tons of large gravel have been delivered to the Duke Energy Power Plant to be spread along the shoulder of the road. Esway said, “We are constructing a pickup/drop off lane and additional parking and unloading for private boaters. We are also constructing a place for clients to stand safely out of the roadway while river guides are offloading boats.”

Plans are also underway, he added, to get estimates for trimming dead and dangerous trees from the Power Plant area.

On Thursday, Sgt. William D. Collier and Trooper Travis Eggers checked company buses for maintenance, lights, brakes, tires, and emergency exits. River Control Officer Grady James and Cocke County Rafting Clerk Shalee McClure were also part of the inspection team, who also examined the companies’ medical kits, flotation devices, restrooms/changing rooms and offices.

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