This report was updated 3:58 p.m. Friday, March 20, 2020, with more information.

CARTERET COUNTY — The county announced Thursday night it would close all county-maintained public beach access points, including those at Salter Path, Radio Island and Harkers Island, amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.

In closing the accesses, the county followed the lead of Emerald Isle, which late Thursday afternoon announced it would close the parking lots at its Eastern Ocean Regional Access, Western Ocean Regional Access, Station Street Park and Third Street Park facilities at sunset that day, through at least Tuesday, March 31.

In addition, Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach and Indian Beach have also closed several beach parking areas.

In Atlantic Beach, those include the New Bern Avenue Beach Access, the Hernderson Boulevard Beach Access, the boardwalk gravel lot at The Circle, the pavilion lot at The Circle and the Coastal Area Management Act lot at The Circle.

Indian Beach has also suspended beach driving until further notice.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, Emerald Isle Mayor Eddie Barber declared a state of emergency and urged visitors not come to town. The county has also issued a state of emergency and discouraged visitation, as have some other towns.

In the Emerald Isle press release, Town Manager Matt Zapp said, “Following guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Gov. Roy Cooper, and local health officials, North Carolinians are asked to implement social distancing.

“Visitors should be aware that travel to the coast is being discouraged at this time.”

Emerald Isle public restrooms will also remain closed through March 31. Officials said they will review the situation and adjust the schedule as needed.

Mr. Zapp also said residents should continue to practice social distancing and avoid mass gatherings to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Commissioner Jim Normile stressed Friday the town “has not closed public beach accesses. We have closed … parking lots to preclude mass gatherings that were occurring.

“All beach accesses in Emerald Isle are open,” he added, just not those four parking lots. “The beach is open.”

The town has also, for now, banned driving on the beach, effective Friday and is suspended the sale of beach-driving permits.

Town officials will review the duration of all closures and restrictions and adjust the schedule if needed.

In addition, Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier owner Mike Stanley said Friday morning he was in the process of shutting down the beach access at his facility.

He said the parking lot at the pier will remain open for the time being, as will the pier. The parking lot will be open for pier fishermen and those who want to shop at the pier store.

“We are working with the town,” Mr. Stanley said. “Hopefully this will keep large crowds from gathering. We feel like it’s OK to keep the pier open for now because there is already ‘social-distancing.’ Everybody stays pretty far apart anyway.”

He said he and the pier employees will work to ensure that continues, with groups of more than five prohibited.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

 

(Previous report)

CARTERET COUNTY — The county announced Thursday night it would close all county-maintained public beach access points, including those at Salter Path, Radio Island and Harkers Island, amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.

In closing the accesses, the county followed the lead of Emerald Isle, which late Thursday afternoon announced it would close the parking lots at its Eastern Ocean Regional Access, Western Ocean Regional Access, Station Street Park and Third Street Park facilities at sunset that day, through at least Tuesday, March 31.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, Mayor Eddie Barber declared a state of emergency and urged visitors not come to town. The county has also issued a state of emergency and discouraged visitation, as have some other towns.

In the Emerald Isle press release, Town Manager Matt Zapp said, “Following guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Gov. Roy Cooper, and local health officials, North Carolinians are asked to implement social distancing.

“Visitors should be aware that travel to the coast is being discouraged at this time.”

Emerald Isle public restrooms will also remain closed through March 31. Officials said they will review the situation and adjust the schedule as needed.

Mr. Zapp also said residents should continue to practice social distancing and avoid mass gatherings to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Commissioner Jim Normile stressed Friday the town “has not closed public beach accesses. We have closed … parking lots to preclude mass gatherings that were occurring.

“All beach accesses in Emerald Isle are open,” he added, just not those four parking lots. “The beach is open.”

The town has also, for now, banned driving on the beach, effective Friday and suspended the sale of beach-driving permits.

Town officials will review the duration of all closures and restrictions and adjust the schedule if needed.

In addition, Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier owner Mike Stanley said Friday morning he was in the process of shutting down the beach access at his facility.

He said the parking lot at the pier will remain open for the time being, as will the pier. The parking lot will be open for pier fishermen and those who want to shop at the pier store.

“We are working with the town,” Mr. Stanley said. “Hopefully this will keep large crowds from gathering. We feel like it’s OK to keep the pier open for now because there is already ‘social-distancing.’ Everybody stays pretty far apart anyway.”

He said he and the pier employees will work to ensure that continues, with groups of more than five prohibited.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

 

(Previous report)

EMERALD ISLE — Emerald Isle officials late Thursday afternoon announced they would close at sunset all public beach access parking lots to further reduce the possible spread of COVID-19.

According to a news release from Town Manager Matt Zapp, the closure is to last through Tuesday, March 31.

The locations are the Western Ocean Regional Access, the Eastern Ocean Regional Access, Station Street Park and Third Street Park.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, Mayor Eddie Barber declared a state of emergency.

Cape Carteret has also declared a state of emergency, according to Town Manager Zach Steffey. Both towns followed the lead of Carteret County, and discouraged visitors from coming to the towns.

In the Emerald Isle release, Mr. Zapp said,  “Following guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Gov. Roy Cooper, and local health officials, North Carolinians are asked to implement social distancing.

“Visitors should be aware that travel to the coast is being discouraged at this time.”

Public restrooms will also remain closed through March 31. Officials will review the situation and adjust the schedule as needed.

 

 

(5) comments

sonsofPepe

Another knee-jerk reaction to the coronavirus hoax (hoax as in the mainsteam media making a mountain out of a mole hill.)

Deringer1230

But are fitness centers are packed to full capacity

David Collins

This is the response you get when folks are pleading for something to be done . All about appearance , not substance . Closing off both bridges to non residents would have more of a message . Anyone can walk the beach if they wish . The exercise would be good for you .

CARTERETISCORRUPT

Agreed, another knee-jerk media driven panic.

powerwatcher

People in North Carolina have for a very long time had the unconditional “right” to access the state’s oceanfront beaches by the “public trust doctrine,” a legal principle that says the public has the “right to navigate, swim, hunt, fish, and enjoy all recreational activities in the watercourses of the State … [and] the right to freely use and enjoy the State’s ocean and estuarine beaches and public access to the beaches”, according to NC State statutes. So, again, the ham-fisted local politicians and law enforcement representatives have stepped all over our rights.

Welcome to the discussion.

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