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Downtown Asheville business owners light the way home for frontline, essential workers

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — The holidays have long been over, but festive lights are popping back up in downtown Asheville storefronts.

Betsey-Rose Weiss, owner of American Folk Art and Framing, said she read in a Facebook post that a nurse at Mission Hospital felt uplifted when she saw people’s Christmas lights still up on her way home from work.

More inspiration for Weiss came on Tuesday, when Asheville City Hall and the Harrah’s Cherokee Center were lit up in honor of COVID-19 victims.

“The church bells ringing, the lights going up — it was inspiring,” Weiss said.

So, she had the idea to continue to light up downtown Asheville — but this time, in honor of all of the essential workers whose difficult jobs have become even harder during this pandemic, from bus drivers to nurses on the frontline.

“It would be an outward sign of our thanks to not just the hospital workers, but all the people who are helping us to cope and manage to get through COVID, which has been difficult,” Weiss said.

She put colorful lights up in the windows of her business and offered lights to other business owners so they could do the same.

“It’s one of those easy things you can participate in if you are so moved to do so,” Weiss said.

Lexi Diyeso, owner of Hazel Twenty, gladly took Weiss up on her offer and put lights up in her windows.

“In this stage of the pandemic, we are all hoping and searching for a sense of community, and if this is a small but kind of impactful way that we can show our support to the nurses and hospitals and the frontline workers, really, I’m all about it,” Diyeso said.

The owners of Mountain Madre joined the growing movement, too.

“This is for us to support them and say ‘thank you’ for what you’re doing — on the way home, or on their way into work,” Danny Scully said. “I hope the word gets out. I would love to see every business front have lights.”

A business owner created a map of all of the businesses that have lights up in honor of frontline and essential workers. Click here to see the map, or view below.

“I think the people that are being the light, hopefully they’ll see our lights and know we’re thinking about them,” Weiss said.

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