Outer Banks officials consider mandatory mask requirement; decide against it

Kari Pugh photo

The Dare County Control Group, a multi-jurisdictional policy-making body for the Outer Banks during emergency situations, met Thursday to discuss ordering mandatory mask-wearing in public, but decided against it.

“After receiving feedback from our citizens, I thought it was important to bring the group together to discuss this issue and reach a consensus,” said Bob Woodard, control group chairman and chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners. “The group determined that the wearing of face masks will continue to be strongly encouraged but not mandatory. The main reason for this is the inability to enforce a mandatory mask requirement.”

Since May 16, when visitors were allowed to return to the Outer Banks, Dare County has experienced 10 new cases of COVID-19. During this time, Dare County hosted nearly 800,000 visitors, Woodard said.

” … I am thankful that the numbers have stayed relatively low. We must all remain vigilant and do our part to keep the numbers low. Wearing a mask, requiring masks in your local business, practicing social distancing and frequently washing our hands are proactive steps we can all take to protect our safety and the health of our community,” Woodard said.

The Dare Control Group includes Woodard, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Dave Hallac, Sheriff Doug Doughtie and the mayors of Manteo, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Duck.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com