3/28/20: COVID-19 UPDATE: DARE COUNTY AMENDS ITS STAY HOME ORDER TO ALIGN WITH GOVERNOR’S STATEWIDE DIRECTIVE, RECOGNIZING IT CONTROLS. Still Only One Confirmed Case in County; Dare Board of Commissioners to Meet April 1 by Telephone.

A woman is subjected to CDC screening for the new coronavirus in a quarantine center at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in January. (photo courtesy of the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Dare County updated its Stay Home-Stay Healthy declaration today to align it with Governor Roy Cooper’s statewide Stay at Home order and guidelines, clarifying that where there may be differences between the two directives, the State order controls.

Both orders are being imposed to thwart the spread in North Carolina of COVID-19, the severe respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, by preventing close contact between people.

The County’s declaration becomes effective today at 5 p.m. The Governor’s directive, which was announced as Executive Order No. 121, takes effect Monday at 5 p.m.

If either government body had imposed a “shelter in place” order, which is more restrictive than a stay at home order, residents would be unable to leave their homes, except in emergency situations.

We Outer Bankers are used to sheltering in place during hurricanes: You stock up on supplies, hunker down in a safe place, and stay put until the emergency has passed.

See the CDC on sheltering in place at: https://emergency.cdc.gov/shelterinplace.asp.

In a bulletin announcing the update today, Dare County Emergency Management also stated that there is still only one “positive COVID-19 test result” in the County, which was reported March 25. The County Dept. of Health and Human Services will continue to report any positive cases when they become known.

The Beacon congratulates Dare County and its manager/attorney, Bobby Outten, on taking such swift action to head off any inconsistencies between the two directives that may give rise to confusion. Last night The Beacon pondered doing a side-by-side comparison of the two orders in order to identify any inconsistencies and is grateful to be spared the task.

(It is usually safe to assume that state action takes precedence, but it is best to have that assumption confirmed in writing.)

The County’s amendment also makes clear that a violation of any of the restrictions and prohibitions in either the County’s or the State’s order is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The State’s order leaves enforcement up to local authorities.

See the Dare County Emergency Management’s updated Bulletin #19 at https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6033/1483.

You will find the text of the amended Stay Home-Stay Healthy declaration here: https://www.darenc.com/Home/ShowDocument?id=6276.

The Beacon re-publishes below relevant links that we published yesterday after the Governor’s announcement:

The text of Executive Order No. 121: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO121-Stay-at-Home-Order-3.pdf

Frequently asked questions about the executive order: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/200327_FAQ-SAH-Order_FINAL.pdf

If you do not think your business is included in the essential services list in the executive order, and you believe it should be, you may apply online with the N.C. Dept. of Revenue for it to be designated essential.

Go to https://www.ncdor.gov/home/ncdor-actions-covid-19/covid-19-essential-businesses.

Until your exemption is reviewed, you may operate your business as long as you can accommodate physical distancing in your workplace.


APRIL 7, SOUTHERN SHORES: The Town of Southern Shores has announced through Dare County Emergency Management bulletins that it is “currently evaluating services that would allow electronic viewing [of] and participation” in its next Town Council meeting, which is scheduled for April 7.

THE TOWN OF DUCK has announced that its April 1 Town Council meeting will be live-streamed and that it will provide instructions for public comment and viewing on its website before the meeting.

THE DARE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS’ April 1 meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. via telephone. The public may access the meeting by calling (301) 715-8592, (669) 900-6833, (346) 248-7799, or (929) 436-2866 and then entering the meeting ID of (296) 841-306. The public will be able to comment.

The Beacon will find out Monday how much in advance you may call into the meeting.  

RECYCLING MEETING: The Beacon reported yesterday on the postponement of a State, County, and multi-town recycling meeting that had been scheduled for Monday. The Beacon should have stated that organizers of the meeting, originally scheduled to be held in Manteo, had hoped to hold it Monday by electronic means, but arrangements have not been made.

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

The Beacon has reported extensively on the recycling crisis on the Outer Banks. 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.


REACHING OUT TO THE COMMUNITY . . . If you have a concern during this uncertain and trying time that you have not seen addressed by town, county, or state officials and resources, please email The Beacon at ssbeaconeditor@gmail.com, and we will try to be of assistance.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 3/28/20   

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