Dare County, N.C., closes its borders

By DJ Rippert

From Outer Banks to Outer Mongolia. Dare County, N.C. issued orders last week closing its borders to non-residents. Dare is a coastal county just south of Currituck County, N.C., which borders Virginia. Many Virginians know Dare County from Outer Banks vacations in towns such as Duck or fishing trips launched from Manteo. Checkpoints into and out of Dare County are apparently now manned by law enforcement officers who will check IDs to ensure that travelers are residents of Dare County or have pre-authorized transit permits issued by Dare County. As of last week there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dare County, and it seems county officials want to keep it that way.

Is it legal? Some are questioning whether officials in Dare County can legally enforce a prohibition against non-residents entering the county. Apparently they can. North Carolina law, specifically N.C. General Statute 166A-19.31, allows local officials to control access and ingress to their jurisdiction during times of emergency. Given the Coronavirus outbreak, local officials in Dare County have decided to invoke that law.

We want your taxes but not you. Dare County has many vacation homes owned by non-Dare County residents. These homes are typically expensive and generate a material amount of tax revenue for the county. Originally, non-resident owners of these homes were allowed entry into the county by showing their tax receipts for the property along with valid ID. Yesterday that changed. Dare County is now excluding non-resident property owners from entering the county.

Commentary. I was originally predisposed to giving Dare County officials the benefit of the doubt regarding the border closure. For one thing all those expensive and unoccupied beach homes could be targets for burglars taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak. However, my perception changed when those same officials decided to bar entry for non-resident property owners. These are people who have invested in the county, who pay taxes to the county and who should have every right to go to their properties. I have no idea if Virginia law would permit the same type of buffoonery from our local officials. Let’s hope not  However, even if such actions are allowed, I hope no Virginia jurisdiction would follow the selfish, arrogant and small minded actions of the officials in Dare County, N.C.

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23 responses to “Dare County, N.C., closes its borders

  1. In other words, how Dare they?
    I bet the fishin’ is good too.

  2. I was thinking about this.

    If you were an island – there are more than 10,000 inhabited ones in the Caribbean alone, and you did not have a signal case of cornoaVirus , how justified would you be in closing off access?

    We have more than a 100 inhabited islands on the US mainland. Should they block access if they are currently coronavirus free even to property owners with summer homes?

    • No because you can’t really block access. If somebody on your island get sick from something other than Coronavirus are you just going to let them die or are you going to let them leave the island for treatment?

  3. So, if non-resident property owners could come and go, this would be fine? No it wouldn’t. An ominous development. But we have convinced ourselves this is The Black Death, when it bears more resemblance to flu.

    • I see where you have landed on this… The problem I have is that every single public health official and every single elected are all saying the same thing which is this is the worse pandemic since 1918

      … and if you don’t believe it , too bad… we’re going to shut down the economy anyhow!

      and the only way I could disagree with that many would be to think they’re all in cahoots over a lie… and I’m not there yet.

      That’s amazing to me – the number of elected who disagree with this – you can count on one hand.

      The only way I could disagree with it is to assume they’re all in cahoots over a lie.. and I’m not there .

      • It’s not a lie, but steeped in panic. I do not doubt that the hospitals are likely to be over-matched, and supplies are going to be in short supply, but U.S. flu deaths still may exceed this.


        This is in addition to the usual flu, and thus adds greatly to the strain on the health care system. Time will tell who is right, but of course if this doesn’t turn out to be as disastrous as many fear, maybe 10 or 15,000 U.S. deaths, all will say, see? We fixed it in time! In the meantime, world economic depression.

        • Well, I’m agog on how readily the elected – across the board, without objection, were willing to crater the economy over this.

          That’s hard to accept except that almost all of them agree.

          Then another large group in Congress, not unanimous, are willing to spend more money than I ever conceived they would – and THAT’s going to have ugly longer term consequences.

          But there is panic. I saw it at WalMart today. People are grabbing as much stuff as they can because they’re afraid if they don’t there won’t be any more later.

          What really got me beyond the virtually empty meat counter was the virtually empty beans and boxed pasta counters… long term stuff.

          All the “warnings” from elected are indeed being heard and not to good effect. What they’re getting is that all hell is about to break loose and we cannot stop it.. and every guy for himself.

    • If non-resident property owners were allowed in I could imagine some location-specific situations that could justify closing the borders. For example, people from the cities breaking into the unoccupied beach homes and squatting. Or too many people camping on the beach. But … once they refused the non-resident property owners I couldn’t see any more location-specific reasons to exclude entry.

  4. Show us your papers!

    I wonder if they are willing to use deadly force to prevent someone from crossing their borders.

  5. I offer no defense for this action. I would be furious if it were done to me. But I suspect may have been motivated by the relative lack of food and other essentials to support an unseasonal influx of people. The commercial logistics are not there to support a swelling population in March and would be hard to restore quickly under these conditions. Fear is a strong motivator to do what is legal to protect one’s own. That doesn’t make it right, but there it is.
    The horror stories from the Hamptons on Long Island are an extreme example of the impact of an out-of-season influx into a resort area of people with money https://nypost.com/2020/03/18/chic-hamptons-food-stores-ransacked-by-the-wealthy-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/

    • Nope, they have food. And this is about the start of their “season”. It is worth noting that these restrictions, if they go into May, are going to play hell with their economy, not to mention with the incomes of the owners of vacation houses. (Most short-term rental agreements are nonrefundable, so owners may not be affected that much. But the companies that offer travel insurance are not going to be happy with the increase in claims they will get.) The place is pretty much deserted during the winter, but depends on tourists in spring and summer.

      • I agree. Currituck County hasn’t done this. This isn’t about food.

        • Which brings to mind a curious question, as Corolla is part of Currituck and not Dare County, and the only road access is through Dare, how do the police deal with those non-Dare residents who need to get to Corolla. Force them to rent a boat?

          • no, you’ll need “papers”…

          • For those who have 4 wheel drive vehicles, Currituck County could open the padlocked gate at the south end of Virginia’s False Cape State Park. Right now, the gate can be opened by a few residents who have keys in the 7 or so miles just south of the Virginia border. The keys are used in cases of emergency, mainly hurricanes, so folks at the north end of the 4Wheel Drive area between Corolla and the Virginia state line can escape into Virginia and not get trapped by non-4 wheel idiots who get stuck trying to get on the beach at the access north of Corolla.

  6. don’t need no stinking city-dwellers carrying contagion to come in and crap up our town……..stay away – and stop complaining….. come back with lots of money later after all of this blows over. Assume your preferred role.

  7. To be consistent, they should not allow full-time residents to leave and return. Otherwise, they could bring the contagion in.

  8. johnrandolphofroanoke

    All three levels of government (state/local/federal) are going to exert enormous influence, power, and control in the days ahead. How much of this will they give back when the storm passes?

  9. Man, oh man… this is socialism on steroids!

    by the way, I think Trump is correct. Yes.. I know.. that is shocking.

    but after this is over with – and the day will come – but not soon enough for many – the economy will come back strong – but very different… and those who understand the differences and are actually involved in the economy will become fabulously rich…

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