New Hanover County, in collaboration with the City of Wilmington and the towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, will be implementing additional county-wide restrictions that support the Governor’s statewide order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent the healthcare system from becoming overburdened in the weeks to come.
On Friday, Governor Roy Cooper signed a Stay at Home Executive Order for the entire state of North Carolina, beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 30.
New Hanover County’s order, which can be viewed in full here, will take effect Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m. In the case that there is a restriction from both the Governor and New Hanover County, the more restrictive order will be in effect.
“Staying at home is one of the best ways we can protect our community right now,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman in a news release. “I appreciate the mayors of our municipalities for joining me and the county in this effort. This is not an easy decision, but these additional measures are based on evidence and advice of our Public Health experts. We know that these will be short-term inconveniences that will impact our residents and our economy; but it’s important that we act and take this seriously in order to protect the health of our entire community.”
The Governor’s Executive Order can be viewed here, and outlines that residents should stay home and away from others who are not immediate members of their family or household. Under the order, residents can only travel for essential functions like a job or for food, medicine, outdoor exercise, or to help someone in need. Public transportation should only be used if necessary. The order allows for essential services to continue with social distancing measures in place. It also bans gatherings of more than 10 people and requires people to stay six feet apart, both of which are already part of the county’s State of Emergency declaration order from March 20, 2020.
“The Governor’s Order is very comprehensive, but we wanted to take a step further to supplement restrictions specific for our community’s features like water and density,” said Olson-Boseman.
According to a news release, New Hanover County’s additional restrictions incorporate the Governor’s Order, and also include the following closures for at least 14 days, beginning Monday, March 30:
- Closure of playgrounds, team sport facilities, and public gardens.
- Closure of all public amusement places (whether publicly or privately owned or operated) where people may gather, indoors or outdoors. This includes children’s play centers, recreation centers, country clubs, social clubs, and more. Golf courses are restricted to allowing walking golfers or one golfer per cart to maintain social distance requirements.
- Closure of non-essential retail, including indoor or outdoor shopping malls, and retail facilities that that do not provide goods that are essential for health, sustenance, shelter, mobility, and hygiene. Delivery and curb-side service at all retail establishments may be continued. This restriction does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware and building supply stores, or gas stations.
- Closure of specific merchants, specifically: auto dealerships, boat dealerships and other motor vehicle sales points (not including repair or maintenance services), hotels, motels, and short-term lodging (except as allowed by a governmental request to assist with the emergency response to Coronavirus), retail or “captain” stores situated at marinas.
- Closure of inside carry-out food service that requires the customer to enter the interior of the merchant’s facility. Delivery, drive-through and curb-side food service is allowed.
For additional information about this local order, view a county FAQ here. This New Hanover County order will remain in effect until 5 p.m. on April 13, unless otherwise re-evaluated or extended.
If a business type is not listed in the county’s restrictions specifically and are not limited in the Governor’s Order, they can continue. For example, plumbers, electricians, exterminators and others who help maintain the safety and sanitation of residences can continue. Visiting a local park, greenway or nature preserve while practicing social distancing can continue.
Businesses excluded from the list of COVID-19 Essential Businesses and Operations in the Governor’s Executive Order who believe that they may be essential, should direct requests to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. New Hanover County will not provide any permits or credentialing for businesses or employees who are traveling to work to be identified as essential.
“Public Health has been working with our partners, the hospital, and the state to understand the impacts, the needs, and the clinical assessment surrounding COVID-19,” said Public Health Personal Health Services Manager Carla Turner, RN, MSHA . “These additional measures are informed, deliberate Public Health measures to keep our community safe. Every single person’s actions and compliance with these restrictions will save lives and protect our healthcare workers – and that is the ultimate goal.”