Stay At Home Order Extended Until April 29th: Boat Ramps Reopened

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman, in collaboration with the mayors of the City of Wilmington and the towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, extended the county’s existing Stay at Home Order until April 29 at 5 p.m. to continue mitigating the spread of COVID-19. New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman, in collaboration with the mayors of the City of Wilmington and the towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, extended the county’s existing Stay at Home Order until April 29 at 5 p.m. to continue mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Stay At Home Order Extended Until April 29th: Boat Ramps Reopened Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 15 April 2020 17:05

Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY  - 62. That's the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in New Hanover County as of April 14th, at 5PM. 32 have recovered and 1 patient death has been reported by County officials on Tuesday.

On April 13th, New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman held a press conference along with the Mayors of the City of Wilmington and the towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach.

Olson-Boseman announced an extension of the county’s existing Stay at Home Order that was originally supposed to expire April 13th. That order is now extended until April 29th at 5 p.m. to continue mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

According to Olson-Boseman, in addition to adding two weeks to the county-wide order, some restrictions were lifted on April 13th, at 5 p.m. Those include:
• Public and private marinas and boat ramps can be opened
• Public and private tennis and pickleball courts can be opened

In addition, several enhancements have been made to the order:
• "Safety, security, clothing and communication" have been added to the list of essential retail that can be open (the overall list now includes goods needed for health, sustenance, shelter, safety, security, communication, mobility, clothing and hygiene).
• Stores providing essential goods will no longer be asked to close off sections that are deemed non-essential. So all aisles of essential retailers can be open if they so choose, but dressing rooms should remain closed.
• Auto dealerships, boat dealerships and other motor vehicle sales points are allowed to operate but must comply with an 11-point safety test that will be shared as part of the final, signed declaration.

Olson-Boseman explained, "As we move through the coming days and weeks, it’s important that we continuously reevaluate the restrictions in place and revise them as needed," and, "Our local mayors and I will continue to do that throughout this process, and we hope to be able to lift other restrictions in the coming weeks. Those decisions will be informed by our Public Health and hospital experts, who have the greatest insight into this health crisis and can help guide those decisions in a thoughtful, safe way. The community’s health is paramount, but we also know that we need to get back to life, reopen businesses, and access services as soon as possible. By allowing tennis courts, boat ramps and marinas to open, we hope that people will enjoy these spring days outside, but you have to use good judgement, physically distance yourself from others, and avoid congregating for any reason."

An updated State of Emergency declaration that consolidates, restates, and supersedes the previous declaration was signed at a press conference on April 13th.

The declaration has been  posted online on the county’s FAQ webpage at

Olson-Boseman explained the County’s updated declaration supports the Governor’s statewide orders, including the most recent new social distancing policies for retail establishments, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent our health care system from becoming overburdened.

Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown  explained, "While there is some loosening of restrictions, it is still critical that our residents listen to our Public Health guidance," and, "The cases we are reporting are the people whose symptoms are more severe and are therefore having testing done, so remember that there are other people – outside of our 60 – who likely have this virus and have more mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The more you can stay home and keep at least six feet of distance from others, the better your health and the health of those around you will be."

Slow the Spread

County officials are recommending steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:
• Comply with the Governor’s Stay at Home Order and New Hanover County restrictions.
• Wear Cloth Face Coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
• Stay home unless you must travel for essential purposes. If you must leave your home, follow proper physical distancing protocols: don’t gather in groups of more than 10 and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
• Stay home if you are sick, even if you are an essential worker. And cover your coughs and sneezes.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops and daily work surfaces).

Olson-Boseman signed a second supplemental amendment to the county’s State of Emergency and county-wide restrictions earlier this month. The amendment closed all public and private boat ramps, and public and private marinas within New Hanover County beginning  April 3. Those additional restrictions were intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and are specific to motorized boats; it did 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 were excluded from the order. 

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."

During a meeting of the Carolina Beach Town Council on April 14th, Councilman Lynn Barbee asked, "With the marinas being open... is Masonboro Island still closed, is that true? And will the north end of Freeman Park be closed as well?"

Town Manager Bruce Oakley said, "That's my understanding. Freeman Park is closed and the north end as well."

Mayor Leann Pierce said, "We would like to encourage our boaters that are in the water not to go to Masonboro Island. Do not congregate there are create enforcement issues."

Law enforcement will be out patrolling the waterway and enforcing social distancing for boaters who head out on the waterways and the beaches of undeveloped Masonboro Island. Recently a large number of people traveled via boats to that Island since other areas beaches were officially closed and did not practice social distancing.

The County and municipalities are currently not cutting off utilities due to past due bills. That includes water, sewer, power and other charges on governmental bills.

David W. Heglar - Emergency Manager, Town of Kure Beach - explained April 4th, "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."

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."


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