EMERALD ISLE — Officials will open the town hall to the public Tuesday for the first time since the town and state imposed a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic in March.
Town Manager Matt Zapp made the announcement Friday in an email.
“The public will be limited to the lobby area, unless circumstances require interior access,” he said. “Please practice proper social distancing and maintain six feet or more between persons.”
The town hall and administrative offices, at 7509 Highway 58, will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and those hours will stay the same weekdays unless events warrant change.
In addition, Mr. Zapp said, the town police department, at 7500 Emerald Drive, will open to walk-in traffic Tuesday and resume normal hours unless conditions warrant change. The public will be limited to the lobby unless necessary, and the town urges those who come in to observe social distancing guidelines.
The reopening of both facilities come in the wake of the beginning of phase two of Gov. Roy Cooper’s gradual reopening of North Carolina after more than two months of restrictions.
The town community and recreation center, on Leisure Lane, will remain closed for the time being, as will all of the town’s public playgrounds.
Mr. Zapp reiterated the town’s free public beach access parking lots at 3rd Street and Station Street, as well as the paid Eastern Ocean Regional Access, at 2810 Highway 58, will be open for Memorial Day weekend, which lasts through Monday.
The Western Ocean Regional Access at the end of Islander Drive will remain closed “due to monsoon-levels of rain received May 17-21,” he said.
Islander Drive is being renovated with new sidewalks, parking spaces and other amenities, and the WORA is undergoing repairs of damage caused by Hurricane Florence in September 2018.
When the WORA reopens, Mr. Zapp said, it will have a wider wooden walkway to the beach, as well as updated showers.
He urged visitors to not to park illegally over Memorial Day weekend, despite the lack of spaces at the WORA.
“Please do not park along roadways, in private parking lots, private driveways, or the Emerald Isle Boat Ramp lot to access the ocean,” he said. “Be respectful of others and observe the law. Park in marked and legal spaces only. Please be mindful that illegal parking will be enforced.”
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.