Coronavirus COVID-19 2020

Ocracoke rebuilds while under COVID-19 quarantine

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By Connie Leinbach 

Ocracoke continues to rebuild from the devastating Hurricane Dorian damage more than six months ago on Sept. 6.

Eagerly awaiting visitors after a three-month shutdown following the storm, islanders are now dealing with a second visitor shut down to help stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The rest of the state and most of the country are in the same boat with the national economy virtually at a standstill, but to have two such hits within six months is especially hard for Ocracoke, which relies on income from visitors.

“I have friends who I’m not sure will make it,” said one business owner who declined to be identified.

Yesterday, the White House granted Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a federal disaster declaration for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina.

The declaration provides Public Assistance to all 100 North Carolina counties, allowing local governments, state agencies and eligible non-profits to be reimbursed for costs involved in responding to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the sounds of saws, hammers, nail guns and chain saws continue as islanders work on their homes and businesses.

Below are some photos of progress as of this week and last.

Justin LeBlanc works on rebuilding the Ocracoke Coffee Company. May 1 is their expected opening date. Photo: C. Leinbach

Fishing charter owners, Stevie Wilson, at rear left, of the Dream Girl, and Farris O’Neal, right, of the Drumstick, work on getting their boats ready for fishing trips. Photo: C. Leinbach

Adam Burleson helps rebuild SmacNally’s. Photo: C. Leinbach

Eduardo works on getting his new food truck ready in a new location at Lawton Lane and Irvin Garrish Highway. Photo: C. Leinbach

The Ocracoke United Methodist Church’s parsonage on Howard Street is nearing completion after having been raised. Photo: C. Leinbach

Tim Wilkerson and Roger Meacham have to rebuild and secure the deck of the Jolly Roger, which is not expected to open this year. Photo: C. Leinbach

Lachlan Howard, front, and his dad, David Tweedie, rebuild their house at Lawton Lane and Howard Street. Photo: C. Leinbach

Down Creek Gallery is among the few businesses open. Photo: C. Leinbach

Quiet Ocracoke Village streets. The former T.J. Outfitters will revert to a rental house. Photo: C. Leinbach

The inside of the Ocracoke Oyster Company as of March 2 at its new location, the former Ocracoke Bar & Grille. Photo: C. Leinbach

Inside Jason’s Restaurant on March 2. Photo: C. Leinbach

Ocracoke Island Trading Company got all new floors and shelving after having been inundated by Dorian. Photo: C. Leinbach

Dajio Restaurant has a new plan–a two-story section in addition to the original building. Owners Doug and Judy Eifert hope to be ready by Memorial Day. Photo: C. Leinbach

A ferry comes into Ocracoke’s Silver Lake harbor. Photo: C. Leinbach

7 replies »

  1. Yes, thank you so much for the pictures. They are bittersweet. Holding you all in our hearts with this double whammy you are all going through. Stay well!

  2. Thanks for the photo essay. It’s heartening to see the progress being made. We’re looking forward to our annual family vacation on Ocracoke in August.

  3. We had to cancel our vacation trip to Ocracoke last September because of Dorian for the first time in the 25 years that we have been visiting the island yearly. We really hope that our upcoming stay the last week of May won’t have to be cancelled also as we are looking forward to patronizing the local businesses in an effort to help the rebuild of the village.
    Thank you for the photos and stay safe.