BEAUFORT — Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton has issued a stay-at-home proclamation for town residents in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The order is effective 6 a.m. Wednesday through 5:59 a.m. Wednesday, April 22, or until the order is changed.
Exceptions for individual residents outlined in the declaration include those moving about to engage in certain essential activities, those who work for an essential business or to provide essential government services.
Furthermore, the declaration orders all businesses physically located in Beaufort to cease nonessential operations, directs for some road closures to restrict access into and out of town, orders a continuation of government services and requires individuals to report COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate.
Reached Monday evening, Mayor Newton said the proclamation highlights the seriousness of the situation.
“…We are taking measures to protect our amazing community and those that are most vulnerable. Inaction is not an option,” he told the News-Times.
The proclamation is authorized under state general statute 166A-19.31 and Chapter 33 of the town’s code of ordinances, according to the release. The state of emergency declaration from March 17 remains in effect.
“All such Orders are enforceable by local law enforcement agencies, including the Police Department of the Town of Beaufort,” the proclamation reads. “As provided by North Carolina General Statutes and the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Beaufort, violation of or failure to comply with this Proclamation could constitute a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.”
The proclamation will stay in place until rescinded, superseded or amended.
As of Monday evening, Carteret County officials had reported five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. One of the five has been credited to community spread.
“Because of the risk of the rapid spread of the virus, and the need to protect all members of the community in the Town of Beaufort, especially health care providers and individuals most vulnerable to the virus, this Proclamation requires all individuals within the corporate limits of Town of Beaufort to abide by the restrictions and regulations found herein,” the town of Beaufort’s proclamation reads. “…This Proclamation is intended to be in place for only as long as necessary, and Town officials will closely monitor the situation to determine any adjustments are needed.”
When asked about enforcement, Mayor Newton said he hopes residents will choose to comply with the orders.
“The declaration provides authorities for enforcement on (Wednesday). Our Beaufort (Police Department) strives for education over enforcement. The goal of any order is voluntary compliance.”
Under the directive, the town orders individuals to abide by the following:
- Maintain at least 6 feet distance from other individuals, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer and cover coughs or sneezes.
- For people with medical conditions that put them at higher risk of serious complications should they contract COVID-19, regardless of age, and other health care workers and other essential providers, avoid leaving their homes to the extent possible.
- For employers in Beaufort that do not provide essential businesses or government services, take all steps necessary for employees to work remotely from home to the extent possible.
Furthermore, the town orders individuals to stay at home or at their place of residence except as allowed in the proclamation.
Essential activities include preforming tasks essential to health and safety of self, family, household partners or pets; for necessary supplies and services; to obtain or deliver necessary supplies such as groceries, household consumer products, items needed to work from home and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences; for outdoor activity, such as walking or cycling; to take care of or transport others; and for certain types of work.
The proclamation also orders businesses to cease “nonessential” operations, except to preform minimum basic operations, including for-profit, nonprofit and private educational entities.
“Businesses may continue any operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home),” the proclamation reads.
Essential businesses are encouraged to operate and remain open to the public under social distancing guidelines.
Those essential businesses include stores that sell groceries or medicine, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, food banks, convenience stores and “other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products,” the proclamation continues.
Other “essential businesses” include organizations that provide charitable and social services, health care operations, mail, gas stations, vehicle supply and repair, financial and insurance institutions and critical trades, like plumbers, and more.
Under the proclamation, restaurants can still offer take-out and delivery services, the town confirmed. For a full list, see the attached proclamation.
As part of the order, the town also has the ability to restrict access into and out of town, according to the proclamation.
Road closures will allow for a single point of entry. Live Oak Street will be closed at Lena Perry Drive, and Turner Street will be closed at Highway 70 beginning Wednesday morning, according to the proclamation.
Contact Jackie Starkey at 252-726-7081, ext. 225; email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.