While the electronic sign at the north end of Ocracoke repeats Gov. Roy Cooper’s order effective through April 29, people are allowed out to walk and go to essential places while staying six feet away from others. Photo: C. Leinbach

Hyde County has further restricted nonresident property owners (NRPO) from traveling to Ocracoke during Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order issued Friday to slow the spread of the COVID-19. 

An amendment as of today at 5 p.m. to the county’s State of Emergency Order adopts the guidelines set forth in the Cooper’s order but requires any NRPO to have a building permit if they want to come to the island to fix their home.

“Only people working on critical repairs requiring a building permit will be issued temporary entry permits,” the county press release said. “Other repairs will need to wait until the governor’s order is lifted to continue.”  

The new order says permit applications will be evaluated on a case by case basis and will be verified before an entry permit is issued.  Also, temporary permits issued prior to this order that cannot be verified using the amended entry guidelines will be voided.

Hyde County Public Information Officer Donnie Shumate explained that this means that any NRPO now on the island, if they leave, will not be able to come back.

Ocracoke’s County Commissioner Tom Pahl said in a Facebook post on Sunday that following the announcement allowing NRPO doing “critical repairs” to their homes onto the island, “Ocracoke has seen an apparent influx into the village of off-island people, despite the travel restrictions we put in place last week.

“Of the approximately 68 current NRPO temporary passes, fewer than 20 have a building permit,” Pahl wrote. “It was the consensus that some of the NRPO’s are here in accordance with the letter of the restrictions, but not in accordance with the spirit of the restrictions.

“The intent is that both resident and non-resident property owners should be allowed to continue with hurricane repair to their homes and businesses through the COVID 19 crisis, as Ocracoke is responding to two disasters at the same time.”

The NCDOT Ferry Division will have access to a list of all permits issued and will deny entry to those who have not been verified, the Hyde release says.

This order does not affect permanent residents or anyone previously allowed entry without requiring a temporary permit.  Vendors, delivery personnel, and service providers of critical infrastructure are also permitted and do not need a temporary permit.

Those who believe their project fits the criteria to be issued a temporary entry permit can fill out an online application at http://www.hydecountync.gov/ocracoke-covid. Everyone in the vehicle will need to be authorized or they will not be granted entry.

Visitation to mainland Hyde County is also prohibited until further notice. Residents from Beaufort, Dare, Tyrrell and Washington Counties will be granted entry only for those activities permitted by the governor’s Stay at Home Order.

Ocracoke entry will be restricted to the following priorities:
Hyde County/State/Federal Requested Resources
Hyde County Emergency Personnel
National Park Service
Hyde County Employees
Hyde County School System Employees/Staff
Code Enforcement Officers/Inspectors
Department of Transportation
Power Company
Hyde County Debris Removal Contractors or Subcontractors
Hyde County Debris Monitoring Contractor
Sanitation/Garbage Disposal
Mail and Parcel Delivery


Ocracoke Residents
Ocracoke Business Owners and Employees
Ocracoke Temporary Entry Certificate Holders

Anyone not covered by the above priorities will need to be validated by Hyde County and a temporary permit will be issued if the application is approved. An updated list of entry permits will be provided to NCDOT Ferry Division as they are issued.

Residents seeking entry must have the appropriate Hyde County issued re-entry tag or a valid North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Ferry Division issued priority pass. Expired Hyde County re-entry tags will be honored as an acceptable means of establishing priority for this event. The Hyde County re-entry tag colors now allowed access are as follows:

  1. Emergency Personnel (Red)
  2. Infrastructure (Yellow)
  3. Resident (Green)

If a resident fails to produce the aforementioned credentials, they will be required to show evidence of residency in Ocracoke or hold a temporary re-entry permit issued by Hyde County.

To read about Cooper’s Friday order, click here.

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