Beaufort seal

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The proclamation will stay in place until rescinded, superseded or amended.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; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.

(15) comments


Another wannabe mini dictator.


The Nazi's would love this.

David Collins

While Beaufort can basically close town roads , might want to check with the State before attempting to close state roads . Suspect that Cape Carteret found out about this after a recent hurricane . Sometimes local leaders get a bit ahead of themselves . Don’t they ?


This has been walked back by the CDC, i'm fairly certain, this is the 11:00 am Tue. [ ] And, the 4 were in fact Travel related.

sick and tired

So, I have a doctors appointment for prescriptions that have to be filled. The STATE requires I go to my doctor before they can be refilled. I live on highway 101. Does this mean I have to drive all the way around through morehead city to get into see my doctor? Or will I be allowed to drive the normal 10 minutes down Highway 101 to get to my doctor?

Also, I have to get my License plate tags renewed before the end of April. I have been trying for over 2 weeks now to get in touch with the DMV in Raleigh, no luck. "We are sorry we can't answer your call, call back later" I got the Havelock license plate office on the line on Friday. They said you can renew it online. Why yes I can BUT I have to have an inspection, right? They said yeah, we don't know what to tell you. SO, am I allowed to go get an inspection, or is that considered non-essential? The state wants to "help" us so much but seem to be making it very difficult to practice "social distancing" when they require so many hoops to jump through for things THEY require. I am 52 years old, never had a tag expire, nor insurance, but they are like eh, we don't know what to tell you. Any suggestions, anyone?


Dr's are ESSENTIAL. The tag agency is working by appointment only i think, may need to call Morehead City, and do your business there though, however, i would not worry about being a bit late on the tags? Now for the facts... These measures ARE IRRESPONSIBLE. It would be easier to simply set roadblocks for the COUNTY, if they choose to cut themselves off, but to TARGET A SPECIFIC TOWN is BLATANT BIAS for noone at all, as i understand none of the 4 COUNTY RESIDENTS that have this did not contract it IN THE COUNTY ANYWHERE! They were abroad , and now in isolation. Also, all the main stores are open. Lastly, i think the Beaufort BY Pass , (hahahahahaha) is beyond the city limit for the most part, with the exception of a small stretch, so, if they are llookin to start with their 'ticket books' for FAKE TICKETS, lets go. [wink]

sick and tired

Ok after quite a bit of googling, more hoops, I found out 101 will be open for entry. I guess, and this is a guess because it wasn't really made clear in the Beaufort declaration, that the LEO will be "checking every one coming in? Poor LEO being exposed to all that, not to mention if they are having to check every one, seems like it will make for a way for this virus to spread. One infected person at that check point, now the LEO is exposed, and that will potentially spread to EVERY single person in the following vehicles. But the powers that be know best.

Still haven't found an answer to the "getting my car inspected" so I can "renew my tags online" Any suggestions welcomed.

Core Sounder

Did my vehicle registration on line this morning along with re-newing my drivers license. Much easier than having to drive to morehead and fight a crowd. The license and registration re-newal was 3 bucks extra for using the credit card.

David Collins

Get your vehicle inspected as usual . Upon passing inspection , wait 24 hours and renew on line , as usual . Worked for me , as usual . Dr.’s appointments are OK. Be prepared to use the parking lot as a waiting room . Disinfectant procedures at the door with no accompanied family members allowed are the new procedure and you are escorted to the waiting room . Why you need an appointment just for prescription renewal is beyond me unless control substances are involved . Other than that it is just a money grab , $300.00 charge for a $50.00 prescription. I took action and stopped that nonsense years ago . Practitioner no longer in business .


If I am not mistaken, Newton previously set a no alcohol or firearms and ammunition sales ban with a previous event. Of course, the legislature banned the firearms provision. One of the earlier writers is correct; a wannabe dictator without a clue. This isn't basketball, Newton. And we do have a Constitution. Or have you heard of that?


The proclamation is so vague in exceptions it is functionally unenforceable; it won't stand in court. (Well, this is Carteret County, anything is possible).


So true! Just ask brothers Melvin Davis and Licurtis Reels


And when this is over Beaufort will be crying to get people to "shop local"

Build the wall and keep it closed as far as I am concerned.


The local politicians (a k a wanna be despots) should check out the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution (available online through any search engine, just in case they have never heard of the Constitution), especially the part about Freedom of Movement.

David Collins

Hey , the two guys in the foreground are not six feet apart . There is also someone walking and driving . Obviously not at home . Where is enforcement when you need them ?

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