The Dare County Board of Commissioners extended its state of emergency declaration Friday, as North Carolina moved to Phase 3 of reopening.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that the state would be easing some of its restrictions at 5 p.m. Friday after the state’s metrics “remained stable” in September. The state was evaluating lab-confirmed cases, positive tests and hospitalizations, all of which stayed level over a 14-day period, according to a news release from the governor’s office. There was a slight increase in COVID-like illness.
“Our top priority remains getting children back to in-person learning. This month marks a major shift for many families now and in the coming months as schools open their doors, some for the first time since the pandemic,” Cooper said in the release. “The virus continues to spread, so we must take the next steps methodically, and responsibly.”
Dare County’s emergency declaration aligns the county with the rest of the state under Cooper’s Phase 3 restrictions. On March 17, March 20 and March 28 Dare County used a declaration to impose additional restrictions and prohibitions that have since been lifted. The emergency declaration also allows the county to seek state or federal funding aid for disaster response and triggers anti-price gouging laws.
Under the state’s Phase 3 reopening guidelines, which will remain in effect until at least Oct. 23, the curfew for alcohol sales and limit on in-person gatherings — 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors — will continue.
There is an 11 p.m. curfew for alcohol sales that will be consumed in-person at restaurants and outdoor bars. Outdoor bars may operate at 30% of their capacity or with 100 patrons, whichever is less.
Large outdoor venues with capacities greater than 10,000 will be allowed to operate at 7% capacity, which will allow for spectators at professional and collegiate sporting events. Small outside entertainment venues will be able to operate at 30% of their outdoor capacity or 100 guests, whichever is less.
Under the changes, amusement parks will be allowed to reopen their outside attractions only but must limit their guests to 30% capacity.
In Phase 3, movie theaters and conference centers will be allowed to utilize their indoor spaces as long as they operate with no more than 30% capacity or 100 guests, whichever is less.
Face coverings are still required for people older than 5 years of age. This mandate will also apply to outdoor attractions at amusement parks.
In its emergency declaration, the Dare County Board of Commissioners — with consent from mayors in Duck, Southern Shores, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Manteo — said that all people and businesses in Dare County will be expected to comply with the governor’s executive order for Phase 3 guidelines until the order is modified or rescinded.
Dare County first issued its emergency declaration for the pandemic on March 16 — 10 days after Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina.
State and health officials will be monitoring COVID-19 trends and decide whether any other restrictions can be lifted when the order expires Oct. 23.
Jessica Nolte, 757-247-4513, email@example.com
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