Ocracoke Control Group recommends reopening the island before Memorial Day

Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry trails. [Kari Pugh photo]

The Ocracoke Control Group met on Friday to discuss lifting visitor restrictions on the island currently in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, and recommended reopening to visitors before Memorial Day.

“The Control Group discussed the difficulty of weighing public health concerns on the one hand and the threat to the future of Ocracoke’s business community on the other,” Hyde County officials said in a news release. “It was noted that Ocracoke is in the uniquely challenging position of addressing a September shutdown due to Hurricane Dorian as well as the added shutdown due to the Covid crisis.”

The group’s recommendation to reopen before Memorial Day comes “with the understanding that county officials will be working with Dare County, Currituck County and the Governor’s office to coordinate any re-opening to include regional and state concerns,” the release said.

Dare County officials have extended the stay-at-home order through May 22, and announced it will work with Currituck officials on when to reopen to visitors.

“The Control Group agreed that any lifting of visitor restrictions on Ocracoke must be coupled with clear guidelines as to personal protective measures that will be in place for all types of businesses and gatherings, including but not limited to social distancing, face masks, and sanitation,” the press release said. “The group also agreed that individual community members and their families must continue to practice a level of protective measures that they feel is necessary for them. The Hyde County Health Department will continue to provide education regarding safety measures.”

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