Dare County: Masks now required in settings where social distancing is difficult

Kari Pugh photo

On Tuesday, Dare County, in consultation with the Dare County Control Group, released the Plan for Gradual Lifting of Restrictions on Entry to Dare County. This plan was developed with careful consideration of the science, trends, data, epidemiology and resource availability.

While the plan allows for staged entry for non-resident property owners starting on May 4, 2020, it is important for everyone to understand that North Carolina and Dare County remain under State of Emergencies and mandatory stay at home orders. It is critical for individuals in Dare County to follow these orders to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19.

While Dare County’s Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order was extended to May 22, 2020, this order can be modified or rescinded to meet changing conditions. The measures outlined in the order will be regularly reviewed and will remain in effect until it is determined they are no longer necessary to protect the health and safety of our community. 

Under the Governor’s Executive order No. 131, restaurants are permitted to offer  takeout and/or delivery only. Essential businesses may only operate if they can maintain social distancing requirements. They must also restrict maximum occupancy based on square footage and perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces. Executive Order No. 131 does not have a specific end date and remains in place unless repealed, replaced or rescinded.

An additional protective measure implemented yesterday is the requirement for individuals to wear a mask or cloth face covering only in public settings where other social distancing measures cannot be maintained. 

Information on masks and face coverings is available at the CDC website. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

These are the recommendations that are to be followed in Dare County. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics has information on COVID-19 and masks and children.  

While these measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 may seem burdensome and frustrating, they are critically important. COVID-19 can spread quickly when people are in close proximity and have direct contact. The mitigation measures in place are proven public health tools to help slow the spread of disease.

State Cases of COVID-19

In North Carolina, there are currently 7,220 cases of COVID-19 in 93 counties. There have been 242 fatalities in NC associated with COVID-19. Currently, the state is reporting 434 hospitalizations across the state from COVID-19 illness. 

County’s Positive Test Results Remains at 15 

The number of positive COVID-19 test results remains at 15. Fourteen have recovered/or are asymptomatically cleared (meaning they are seven days post testing with no symptoms) and one died. 

Regarding Entry for Currituck County Non-Resident Property Owners Beginning on Thursday, April 23: 

Currituck County has announced entry for Non-Resident Property Owners beginning on Thursday, April 23. 

Those accessing Currituck County must respect Dare County’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order that is in effect.  Travel in Dare County should be used only as necessary to reach the Currituck Outer Banks or for essential needs such as health care. Plan to travel directly to your destination once passing through the checkpoint at the bridge.

According to Currituck County, non-resident property owners will be allowed to go through the law enforcement checkpoint at the Wright Memorial Bridge and travel through Dare County to Corolla ONLY IF they have their hurricane season re-entry permit issued by Currituck Emergency Management. EACH VEHICLE MUST HAVE A PERMIT displayed to be allowed through the checkpoint. A tax bill or other documents will not be accepted. 

If you cannot find your re-entry permit or have questions, contact Currituck Emergency Management via email at [email protected] or call 252.232.2115.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.