UPDATED: Dare County restricts visitor access to Outer Banks; clarifies entry procedure for non-resident workers

Checkpoint at the Wright Memorial Bridge on March 17, 2020. [Kari Pugh photo]

UPDATED, Tuesday 3:45 p.m.: More information has been released regarding entry for non-resident workers and others, after visitors were barred from entering Dare County at 2 p.m.

Due to high demand for the online entry permitting system, some users have experienced difficulties applying for entry permits. In lieu of an entry permit, permanent residents will be allowed entry with a valid NC driver’s license or government-issued identification card with a local address.

Non-resident property owners will be allowed entry with a current tax bill or parcel data sheet with matching current government-issued id or an entry permit with matching current government-issued identification.

Non-resident employees may show documentation providing proof of employment such as pay stubs, employee identification badges, etc.

Personnel working at the Emergency Operations Center are available to answer COVID-19 related questions using a dedicated phone line. Please call 252.475.5008. Personnel anticipates a high volume of calls. If you reach a voicemail, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Video update from Dare County officials:

North Carolina to Close Restaurants & Bars for Dine-In Customers
Governor Roy Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force held a media briefing today at 2 p.m. At that briefing, Governor Cooper announced a new executive order in response to COVID-19 that closes restaurants and bars for dine-in customers but allows them to continue takeout and delivery orders. The executive order will also include an expansion of unemployment insurance to help North Carolina workers affected by COVID-19. The order is effective at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Town of Duck
Following the mayoral declaration of a state of emergency, the Town of Duck is implementing strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect citizens and staff. Residential and commercial collections will continue as scheduled. The Town Hall is currently open, but we ask that you call or email before visiting. We may be able to assist you remotely. The Public Safety building is closed to non-emergent issues, including facility tours and the T-shirt shop. Please call or email the office to ask how we may be able to assist you remotely. 252-255-1234 info@townofduck.com. Non-essential Town events have been cancelled or postponed until April 15. This includes beach planting, lectures, and other community events. Plans for the Council meeting scheduled for April 1, 2020, will be evaluated and updates shared on the Town website, E-news, and social media channels. Please expect face-to-face meetings with staff to be postponed or conducted electronically.

Southern Shores
Following the Mayor’s declaration of a State of Emergency, the Town of Southern Shores is taking proactive steps to protect the health and well-being of our citizens in the face of growing cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 both around the nation and here in North Carolina. Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 and continuing until further notice, government operations for the Town of Southern Shores will be modified in the following manner. Town Hall will be closed to the public and all Town Hall business shall be conducted via phone, email, fax, or other virtual means to the greatest extent possible. Documents requiring delivery to Town staff can be placed in the drop box located outside the main entrance into Town Hall (nearest the flagpole). The meetings of all appointed Town advisory boards, commissions and committees will be modified to reduce vulnerability of people and property of the Town of Southern Shores. Meetings of groups not affiliated with government operations are not permitted in Town buildings until further notice. There is no change to the format or schedule of the Council meetings at this time, however, that may be modified in the future if needed. Building inspections will be conducted as normal, however, meetings in person on site will be limited. Permit applications can be found on the Town website by utilizing the link to CitizenServe.

Town of Kill Devil Hills
The Town of Kill Devil Hills’ top priority continues to be the health, safety, and well-being of its citizens. In an effort to promote good health and to interrupt the potential spreading of illnesses. The Town has been applying precautionary measures in an effort to protect both our Staff and our citizens.In addition, the Town of Kill Devil Hills realizes that many families could be facing hardships and we are here to assist and service our utility customers during this critical time. Water disconnections scheduled for March 25th will be suspended; however, water charges will still apply. We strongly encourage you to make your payment by mail, phone or online to limit public contact. For any questions regarding your account, please call 252-480-4080.

Town of Nags Head
The Town of Nags Head offices are open normal business hours. However, in the interest of safety of our visitors and Nags Head staff, face-to-face contact will be limited. Before visiting the Town of Nags Head offices, please check our website or call us to verify if services can be received online or over the phone.

National Park Service
To minimize potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), consistent with federal, state, and local advisories, visitor centers at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial are temporarily closed, effective immediately.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Off-road vehicle (ORV) permits can be purchased online at www.recreation.gov. The status of each ORV ramp and beach route can be found at http://go.nps.gov/beachaccess.

Beachgoers should use caution in the ocean as no lifeguards are on duty at this time of year.

The Oregon Inlet Campground, the Seashore’s only year-round campground, is closed.

The grounds of Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke Lighthouses are open.

The Ocracoke Island roadside cleanup scheduled for March 26 is canceled.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

The grounds of Fort Raleigh National Historic Site are open.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

The grounds of Wright Brothers National Memorial are open.

In response to updated guidelines from the CDC to avoid discretionary travel, the Dare County Control Group has made the decision to restrict visitor access to Dare County beginning today, Tuesday, March 17 at 2 p.m.

The decision impacts all beach towns in Dare County, including Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Manteo and Hatteras Island.

“While there are currently no individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County, officials weighed the potential benefits for community health along with the tremendous impacts these restrictions have on our community. These restrictions may be inconvenient, disappointing and have financial impacts, however, they were made in the interest of public safety to limit the spread of COVID-19,” the control group said in a statement.

Beginning at 2 p.m., checkpoints will be established at entry points to Dare County and no visitors will be allowed access. Permanent residents, non-resident property owners and non-resident employees of Dare County businesses may review entry guidelines at www.darenc.com/entry. Reentry permits from previous years will not be accepted. Staff is working to activate the online permitting system by 1 p.m.

To avoid contact with personnel, please display your permit on your dashboard so it is clearly visible for checkpoint personnel.

Visitors will not be allowed to travel through Dare County to access Currituck County (Corolla), Hyde County (Ocracoke Island), or Tyrrell County. People who reside, own property or work in Corolla or Ocracoke will be allowed entry.

Personnel working at the Emergency Operations Center are available to answer COVID-19 related questions using a dedicated phone line. Please call 252.475.5008. Personnel anticipates a high volume of calls. If you reach a voicemail, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

General COVID-19 Information
There are currently 39 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in North Carolina. Currently, no individuals in Dare County have tested positive for COVID-19.
The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 15 Days to Slow the Spread
Yesterday the federal government announced guidelines and a plan to slow the spread of COVID-19. Dare County will adhere to the guidance from CDC and North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS). All Dare County community members should adhere to the guidelines that were issued and available at www.coronavirus.gov.

Outer Banks Hospital
The Outer Banks Hospital has implemented new visitor restrictions. Only one immediate family member over the age of 16 and not exhibiting any symptoms of illness may visit a patient at The Outer Banks Hospital and/or Medical Group clinic.

Starting today, Tuesday, March 17, The Outer Banks Hospital will begin screening patients and visitors for symptoms of illness as they enter the Medical Office Building and Main Lobby. Patients and visitors with illness will be masked and asked to sanitize their hands prior to going to their appointment.

Town and Agency Specific Information & Cancellations
Cancellations, closings and the most current information from the towns and the National Park Service is available at www.darenc.com/covid19.