You are allowed to go to the beach under the emergency ‘Stay Home-Stay Healthy’ order, but you must maintain physical distancing of six feet with others you encounter.

Dare County issued a “Stay Home-Stay Healthy” directive today to all residents and all other people authorized to be in Dare County that will go into effect tomorrow at 5 p.m. Its primary intent is to limit people’s movements outside of their homes, to only essential tasks and travel, but it also limits gatherings to no more than 10 people and broadly defines businesses and service providers considered to be essential.

This action is being taken as a result of State health officials having shifted this week into a mitigation strategy to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. (See The Beacon, 3/27/20.)

By curtailing people’s movements, the County seeks to minimize opportunities for people to be exposed to the new coronavirus, as well as to transmit it.

For details about what you can do and should not do, see the Dare County Emergency Management information bulletin at https://www.darenc.com/home/showdocument?id=6272.

According to the ‘Stay Home-Stay Healthy’ declaration, people who are authorized to be in Dare County may:

*Go to the grocery store, a convenience store, or a gas station

*Go to a pharmacy to pick up medications and healthcare necessities

*Visit a health care facility for medical services (Please call your healthcare provider first to see if services can be provided virtually prior to visiting.)

*Go to a restaurant for take-out or drive-thru service (delivery is allowed)

*Care for or support a friend, family member, or pet

*Go outside to take a walk, go to the beach, go for a bike ride, hike, and job, provided physical distancing of six feet is maintained

*Help others get necessary supplies

*Receive deliveries

You may not:

*Go outside of your home if you are sick

*Travel, except for essential travel and activities

*Go to work, unless you are providing essential services

*Gather in groups of more than 10 people

*Be closer than six feet from others when you are out in public

*Visit friends and family if you have no specific, urgent need to do so

*Visit loved ones in a hospital, nursing home, a skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided by the specific facility

In general, activities considered essential are those done:

*To further health and safety

*To get necessary supplies and services

*To engage in outdoor activities

*To work for essential businesses/operations

*To take care of others in need

The entry restrictions for non-resident property owners and visitors remain in place, and there are no restrictions on leaving Dare County.

People who do not live in Dare County may be authorized to be here if they are engaging in “essential travel,” such as traveling to care for elders, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other “vulnerable persons” or traveling for the purpose of providing essential activities, such as essential government functions or essential businesses and operations.

The declaration defines in detail those businesses that are considered essential. Among them are businesses that provide “essential services necessary to maintain essential operations of residences or other essential businesses.”

People who are property managers, contractors, subcontractors, landscapers, plumbers, electricians, and exterminators, among others, are considered to be providing essential services. So are legal, engineering, architectural, or accounting professionals.

It also elaborates upon essential healthcare operations, essential government functions, essential critical infrastructure, essential retail, and more.

We encourage you to read the full text of the declaration here: https://www.darenc.com/home/showdocument?id=6274. The order will remain in effect unless modified, extended, or rescinded.

In yesterday’s blog, The Beacon brought up the enforcement of, and possible criminal penalties for violating, similar “stay-at-home” orders imposed in other N.C. counties and towns. In Dare County, law enforcement agencies are being asked to enforce the order first through “education, dialogue, and seeking voluntary cooperation.”

If local law enforcement officers cannot achieve voluntary cooperation, they may enforce the order through citations or misdemeanor charges. A violation of any of the restrictions and prohibitions imposed under today’s emergency declaration is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The Beacon is not surprised by this order, in light of the changes it discussed in yesterday’s post about COVID-19 prevention strategy and criteria for determining whom to test for the virus. In fact, we would be surprised if Governor Roy Cooper does not take statewide action later today or over the weekend.


STATE, COUNTY, MULTI-TOWN RECYCLING MEETING POSTPONED:  A meeting to be held electronically on Monday, March 30, among N.C. environmental officials, Dare County and town officials, and some industry representatives, to discuss local recycling options in light of TFC’s refusal to accept Outer Banks recycling at its Chesapeake facility has been postponed.

According to Sandy Skolochenko, a Community Development Specialist with the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality, Nags Head Town Manager Cliff Ogburn, who is organizing the meeting, is exploring a “Webinar-based meeting” for some time in April.

The NC DEQ has granted Bay Disposal & Recycling a temporary exemption that enables the Powells Point-based collector to haul loads of recyclables to an incinerator in Portsmouth. This exemption expires April 15.

DON’T FORGET: The bulk-trash collection scheduled for April 3 has been postponed.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 3/27/20


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