Many who visit Carteret County NC beaches at the Crystal Coast are wondering if this coastal region is closed to visitors in 2020 because of the Coronavirus. Additionally, many want to know what their options are for family vacation at places like Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach, Salter Path, and Emerald Isle.
Readers are encouraged to share this article with others on the popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and other sites so that others who visit the Crystal Coast can stay informed of fast changing precautions related to NC beaches and the Coronavirus.
Additionally, you are encouraged to use the comment section below to ask questions, leave insights, and have your say on this issue.
Information in this article will change frequently, please review “Updates After Publication” below to get up-to-date information.
Updates After Publication
April 3 – The Beaufort NC mayor has closed all entrances to the town and the only way to access the town is via Turner Street where there will be an access point. Additionally, the town is also removing all cleats at the Beaufort Docks to prevent access to the town via Taylors Creek. The access point entrance to Beaufort will require an ID and some level of assurances that you are conducting essential business in the town.
April 2 – In a unprecedented move, all mayors of municipalities on Bogue Banks to include Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach, and Emerald Isle met on April 2, 2020 to announce that all recreational water access is now prohibited. This includes boating, swimming, surfing, kiting, and non-motorized access which is now prohibited due to the seriousness of Coronavirus. The mayors did say that walking and running on the sandy beach is encouraged. This clearly was a response to the numbers of people who traveled to the area as visitors to ride out the stay at home order putting the rural Crystal Coast medical community in a bad situation. This clearly adds another layer to Carteret County being closed.
March 30 – All municipalities in Carteret County are now closed to short-term rentals, of which vacation rentals are included.
Effective March 30, 2020 at 5 pm, Carteret County NC will have an additional layer to “effectively being closed” after Governor Cooper issued his third executive order entitled the “Stay-At-Home” order on March 27. Under this proclamation, ALL non-essential travel from the home will be unlawful and could carry criminal enforcement. Additionally, the order prohibits gatherings of ten or more people.
As of March 24, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., there is no federal, state, or county mandate to quarantine or shelter in place as a result of fast-moving Coronavirus infections.
However, on March 23, 2020, Beaufort NC Mayor Rett Newton did issue a mandated shelter in place order which closed all non-essential businesses and significantly limited travel on town streets. Citizen travel is still allowed for essential business owners and employees, grocery stores are still open, and restaurants are offering delivery and carry-out services.
While there is no official federal, state, and county proclamation ordering quarantine which allows for law enforcement action, the entire county is effectively closed to visitors and severely restricted to locals.
Hotels and motels are restricting reservations, the bars are closed, dine-in restaurants are closed and only doing delivery or carry-out, and most county owned beach access areas are closed. All county parks are closed.
In short, while there is no law or piece of paper saying that the beaches and entertainment areas are closed in Carteret County, all municipalities in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach, Salter Path, and Emerald Isle do have significant restrictions in place on town building, beach access areas, restaurants, bars, and notable attractions.
That said, we do believe that in the coming days, there will officially be a law enforced quarantine that will forbid residents from being out in public, and roads will be restricted at all entry points in to the county.
Why? It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a group of people who simply refuse or fail to recognize that sheltering in place or self-isolation is the only way to stop Coronavirus.
North Carolina will still continue to have new infections which will significantly affect tourism areas such as Carteret County, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, and Morehead City because these areas are a popular gathering source for many people.
Until Coronavirus is effectively dealt with by social distancing, isolation, or all out quarantine, our county (and your county) elderly and medically compromised will be highly vulnerable.
Bookmark and share this page on social media, and check back to look for updated information on known attractions and services closing in the area, along with municipal and county closings related to Coronavirus 2020.