Ocracoke Island, Currituck Outer Banks closing to visitors

Currituck Beach Lighthouse [Kari Pugh photo]

Officials have enacted states of emergency in Hyde and Currituck counties, moving to restrict visitor access to Ocracoke Island and the northern beaches of Corolla and Carova.

In an emergency meeting Wednesday, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency beginning at 10 a.m.

“This emergency declaration will allow county officials to implement any restrictions needed to help restrict the transmission of COVID-19 and also allow for any emergency funding mechanisms from state and federal sources. As per the State of Emergency, the following restrictions are now in place for Hyde County,” officials said in a statement.

Visitor restrictions to Ocracoke begin Thursday, March 19 at 5 a.m. This restriction only applies to new visitors to the island, there is not an evacuation order. It does not apply to workers, residents, vendors, or property owners. We will release more details on reentry guidelines by the end of the day.

Other provisions of the state of emergency include:

  • Mass gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited and we strongly discourage any gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Restaurant operations will be restricted to pick up and delivery orders only.
  • The Hyde County Senior Center is closed until March 31, 2020.
  • The Hyde County Adult Day Activities Program is closed until March 31, 2020.

“In coordination with the Hyde County Health Director and in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all persons are urged to maintain social distancing, approximately six feet away from other people whenever possible, and to continue to wash hands, utilize hand sanitizer, and practice proper respiratory etiquette, including coughing into their elbows,” the statement said. “We also encourage all Hyde County citizens and prospective visitors to postpone discretionary travel to and from the county.”

In Currituck County, visitor restrictions for the northern beaches of Corolla and Carova begin March 21 at 9 a.m. Permanent residents, non-resident property owners and non-resident employees of Currituck County businesses may enter the northern Outer Banks.

Dare County on Tuesday restricted visitor access from Duck to Hatteras Island.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and Classic Rock 92.3. Reach her at [email protected]