Boat Ramps And Beach Strand Closed To Discourage Spread Of COVID-19

Beach accesses in New Hanover County are closed. Period. Police are issuing citations with fines for people violating the rules.  As of Tuesday April 7th, Wrightsville Beach issued 18 class 2 misdemeanor citations for violation of the closed beach order. Carolina Beach issued three citations. Beach accesses in New Hanover County are closed. Period. Police are issuing citations with fines for people violating the rules. As of Tuesday April 7th, Wrightsville Beach issued 18 class 2 misdemeanor citations for violation of the closed beach order. Carolina Beach issued three citations.

Boat Ramps And Beach Strand Closed To Discourage Spread Of COVID-19 Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 08 April 2020 17:12

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY  - 52. That's the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in New Hanover County as of April 7th, at 5PM. 20 have recovered and no deaths had been reported by County officials on Tuesday.

On April 3rd, New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman signed a second supplemental amendment to the county’s State of Emergency and county-wide restrictions. The amendment closed all public and private boat ramps, and public and private marinas within New Hanover County beginning  April 3. Those additional restrictions are intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and are specific to motorized boats; it does not apply to kayaks, paddle boards, or other non-motorized boats. Commercial fishing operations, boating use by governmental entities for public safety, and maritime fuel are excluded from this order. 

Olson-Boseman, in collaboration with the mayors of the City of Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources implemented the rules. 

"I made this decision with the advice and guidance from Public Health because we are going into another pretty weekend in New Hanover County, and – as we have all seen and heard – people are not listening to the Governor’s Stay at Home Orders and they are congregating in groups out on the water," said Olson-Boseman. "The longer people don’t listen, the worse our community will fare in the spread of this virus. So we have to take decisive actions, and if that means more restrictions then that is what we will do."

The restrictions are set to expire on April 13th unless extended by local officials.

The public boat ramps include those at: Castle Hayne, Sutton Lake, Wrightsville Beach, Snows Cut, River Road, Federal Point, Trail’s End, and Castle Street.

All public beaches in the County remain closed. Violators can be cited for a violation and face criminal charges with a fine.

Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown explained, "The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has led to a number of restrictions and closures in our community that we have never seen before," and, "None of this is easy, but it’s necessary. Public health data shows that physical distancing, along with proper hand washing, are the best ways to protect our community because the virus can be spread even without symptoms. So the more we can do now, the more we can limit potential exposure, the more lives we will save."

David W. Heglar - Emergency Manager, Town of Kure Beach - explained April 4th, "As I review the emails, watch the news and consider where we are in this event - it is obvious that some citizens have not followed the extensive discussions that the Council has taken regarding this event and our actions.  While I encourage everyone to go to the town website and listen to all of the Emergency Meetings that have occurred - I would like to document in brief the discussions of the past few weeks."

Heglar explained, "The Coronavirus that continues to spread across the United States and the globe is a significant health threat to the health and safety of the residents of Kure Beach.  While there are multiple opinions on the level of this threat - all health professionals are highlighting that (1) 20% of those affected require some level of health care beyond staying at home and (2) the spread of the virus has not been contained in a significant way at this time.  The result of this issue is that without some form of action the health care systems and first responders will be overloaded and fail in some manner - leading to health care rationing and additional deaths resulting from less than optimal health care."

Heglar explained the strategy for Kure Beach is focusing on reducing the spread of the virus in the short to medium term by promoting social distancing and reducing interactions among the public that could lead to community spread.

He explained, "Actions at the National, State, County and Local level are all targeted to reduce people interactions - which reduces the speed of spread of the disease by slowing it down.  No actions that have been taken will stop the virus from spreading across the country or world - they will only slow it down. This will do 3 things - (1) prevent hospitals from being overloaded with COVID-19 cases by exceeding the capacity of the health care system, (2) allow emergency actions to increase the health care system capacity (such as create emergency care facilities that are being stood up in large cities around the world) and (3) allow the production and re-allocation of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support our first responders and health care providers."

Heglar explained, "National, State, County and Local governments have taken a large number of actions designed to support the strategy.  In Kure Beach this has included - (1) closing all Town buildings to the public, with  in person activities by appointment only, (2) closing all short term rentals (STR) to reduce people from coming to Kure Beach from other areas (and possibly bringing the virus with them), (3) having daily temperature checks for employees prior to starting their daily work to prevent spreading the virus to the Town staff, (4) closing the beach strand, public parking and beach accesses (to reduce the draw of people to the town from other areas), (4) take-out only restaurant service and (5) changing the standard operating procedures for our fire and police responding to 911 calls.  Each of these actions was discussed by the Council during emergency management meetings and all actions were taken deliberately and with the knowledge of the impact to our residents, property owners and businesses.  Each is designed to support the STRATEGY that has been set forth by the Health professions at the National, State and County level."

He explained success can be achieved through multiple actions on the part of local government and citizens.

He explained, "Every resident and visitor that requires health care in Kure Beach can be treated to the level of health care that we have enjoyed prior to this virus.  This means that the Town, County, State and Nation have taken all actions necessary to ensure that the local health providers (New Hanover Regional Medical Center) do not fail due to an excessive number of COVID-19 cases exceeding their capacity.  Note that this means the system can provide ongoing health care for all of the other health issues that occur during this crisis.  Additionally this means that local Fire and EMS first responders are available and staffed to respond."

Heglar explained, "Every first responder and health care provider has the recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to properly protect themselves as they respond to our citizens needs. This issue is starting to become a problem across the country and as you read this I would ask you to look in your garage, closet or under your sink and if you have N95 masks or surgical masks that you feel can be donated - please bring them by the Kure Beach Fire Department.  The Town of Kure Beach continues to provide services to the citizens at our historic levels.  The concern is that as the virus comes through our area - without our citizens taking the proper actions - our police, fire and public works personnel could be exposed - leading to them being quarantined and impacting our ability to provide services.  Police and Fire agencies in Detroit and New York City have highlighted the risk to first responders - and all of our Department Heads are working with their teams to ensure we minimize the risk while maintaining town services.  Please recognize this as you deal with them - as the procedural changes in our departments are designed to reduce exposure and to ensure the long term availability of these teams."

He explained, "I understand that there are citizens who disagree with the measures put in place and have flagrantly violated restrictions.  Please recognize that if the health care system does fail locally - it could be you or your loved one that needs an emergency service possibly not related to COVID-19 that could be impacted. 

The simple fact is - that if the system fails - it is not just COVID-19 patients that are at risk - it is all of us.  And while I miss the waves, walking on the beach, having a beer with all my friends and all of the other normal activities that are being impacted - the town will not hesitate to take all legal actions to support this STRATEGY and protect public health."

Heglar explained, "I and the Town Council are committed to public safety and providing town services.  We are closely aligned with the other communities in our area, our County and State emergency management agencies and our dedicated town employees.  We have not taken any actions lightly in regards to the town - and have gotten feedback from our citizens requesting both more restrictions and complaining that we have overstepped.  All of our actions are designed to support the strategy and help to achieve success in managing this crisis."

Kure Beach Dog Park
The Kure Beach dog park will be closing on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

Kure Beach Disc Golf Course
Please remember our disc golf course rules:
1. Must practice social distancing!
2. No alcohol allowed (you will be cited for an open container) 

Please respect the rules above - Do not be the reason our disc golf course gets closed.

The Kure Beach Town Council will continue the Emergency meeting on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. or soon thereafter, to continue discussion of the Town's plans and management of COVID-19.

To call into the meeting dial +1 919-371-6229, and then enter the Conference ID: 894 552 304#

Town Hall will be closed for business on Friday, April 10, 2020 in observance of Good Friday.

Of the 52 overall cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County, 28 are females and 24 are males, and 20 of the individuals are considered recovered (meaning they have been fever free for at least three days without the use of fever reducing medication, they have improved respiratory symptoms, and it has been at least seven days since their symptom onset). The age ranges of all cases in New Hanover County are as follows:
0-17 years old: zero cases
18-24 years old: 5
25-49 years old: 18
50-64 years old: 17
65+ years old: 12
For more info visit www.Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus

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