Dare County to begin opening to NRPO’s on May 4

By on April 21, 2020

Timeline for visitors to be addressed later

Dare County

With careful consideration of the science, trends, data, epidemiology and resource availability, Dare County, in consultation with the Dare County Control Group, has prepared a plan to address the lifting of restrictions on entry to Dare County while protecting the safety of our community. The first phase will allow entry of non-resident property owners. It is critical for everyone to adhere to the safety measures and regulations specified in this plan.

Over the past few weeks there have been a number of changes that have improved the county’s position regarding COVID-19, including:

  • The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Dare County have been stable for over a week. There have been no new cases in that time.
  • Syndromic surveillance indicates no immediate increase in respiratory illness or COVID-19 related symptoms.
  • Testing is now readily available in Dare County in accordance with current NC DHHS guidelines.
  • Testing turnaround, the time between specimen collection and test results, has dramatically decreased over the past few weeks. Results are now received within 24-72 hours.
  • The Dare County Department of Public Health has increased capacity for contact tracing.
  • Dare County Emergency Management has confirmed with essential business operators, primarily grocery retailers, that with advance notice they have the ability to increase delivery of essential goods. As the number of shoppers increases, people may experience a greater wait time to enter a store due to restrictions on the number of customers allowed entry which is based on square footage of the store. Shoppers should also expect to see changes in product availability as supply chain demand fluctuates across the nation.
  • Medical surge capacity has gone from planning to implementation locally, regionally and across the State of North Carolina.  Based on current COVID-19 case numbers and future projections, patients can be transported to a healthcare facility that can provide the higher level of care as needed.

Plan Details

Dare County will open to non-resident property owners who have a valid entry permit with matching government issued ID according to the schedule below:

  • Beginning Monday, May 4 at 6:00 a.m. – Entry begins and is ongoing for non- resident property owners whose last name begins with A – I
  • Beginning Wednesday, May 6 at 6:00 a.m. – Entry begins and is ongoing for non- resident property owners whose last name begins with J – R
  • Beginning Friday, May 8 at 6:00 a.m. – Entry begins for non-resident property owners whose last name begins with S – Z

The following restrictions will remain in place and must be followed:

  • Dare County’s Stay Home – Stay Healthy order has been extended to May 22, 2020.
  • North Carolina’s Stay at Home order – in place until at least April 29, 2020.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Mass gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer individuals.
  • Travel only for essential needs.
  • Only have direct contact with members of your immediate household.
  • All essential retailers must adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order No. 131 and comply with restrictions on the number of individuals allowed entry based on square footage of space.

In addition to the above restrictions, individuals are now required to wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

All non-resident property owners should bring their own supplies to sustain themselves in their homes as much as possible, including groceries, prescriptions, paper products and other essentials.

Decisions regarding access to Dare County for visitors will be addressed at a future date to allow for necessary syndromic surveillance and monitoring of resource availability.

Entry Permitting Process

Entry permits can be obtained at www.darenc.com/entry. Following the instructions provided, non-resident property owners can receive permits by applying online. Permits will be issued to the two “Primary Owners” listed on the tax record for each property. 

To apply for a permit, applicants will need the property parcel number and the driver’s license information for each Primary Owner. All permits are sent to the email address provided by the applicant as a PDF file. The permit will come from reentry@darenc.com and may be treated as spam by your email service provider. Depending on system demand, permits may take several hours to be sent. Before calling to check on permit status, please check your spam folder. All permits issued with an expiration date in 2020 remain valid. Permits should be printed for easy display along with the permit holder’s driver’s license or government issued ID at the checkpoint.  For those not able to obtain an entry permit, non-resident property owners will be allowed entry by presenting a current tax bill or parcel data sheet AND matching government-issued identification card. Questions on entry can be sent to COVID19@darenc.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Dare County lifting restrictions for non-resident property owners later than the Currituck County Outer Banks? 

Dare County has developed a plan for gradual lifting of restrictions on entry based on the science, trends, data, epidemiology, and resource availability. We do not have information on what criteria Currituck County used to make their decision on entry.

What will I need to get through the entry checkpoint?

An entry permit and corresponding identification.  Please have the permit and ID ready to place against the glass for examination by law enforcement officers at the checkpoint.  Business entry documentation remains unchanged.

Will law enforcement check the identification of every person in the vehicle? 

Yes, only those listed on the permit with matching government issued ID will be allowed entry, along with their minor children.

My property is listed on the tax records as an LLC. How do I obtain an entry permit?

When applying for a permit, enter the names and driver’s license information for individuals representing the LLC as primary property owners.  To facilitate approval, use the upload documents feature in the application process to provide supporting documentation that identifies the applicants as members of the LLC.  Once you apply you will be notified by email from reentry@darenc.com that the names don’t match and that the application is under review.  Once the documentation has been verified, permits will be sent to the applicant’s email address as a PDF file from reentry@darenc.com.   Depending on processing time, permit approval may take 1-3 business days.

Will essential businesses be stocked to provide groceries and necessary supplies?

Retailers have indicated they do not foresee challenges providing essential items.  The variety of products and availability will fluctuate especially when consumers buy more than necessary to meet immediate needs.

Is there a stay at home order in place?

Yes, the County’s Stay Home – Stay Healthy order has been extended through Friday, May 22, 2020 and the Governor’s Stay at Home order is in effect through April 29 and may be extended.

Should I bring supplies with me?

Yes. Like many places throughout the nation, certain types of products remain difficult or hard to find. There may also be purchasing limits for in-demand products such as paper products and cleaning supplies.

Will restaurants be open?

On March 18, Governor Cooper announced an executive order closing restaurants and bars for dine-in customers but allowing takeout and delivery orders to continue.  The community is encouraged to continue to support local restaurants and businesses. Order takeout and delivery from your favorite restaurants.

The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau has compiled a list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery services. Call ahead for specific menus and hours of operation. This list is subject to change.

Are businesses open?

There are no changes to the orders in place to allow essential businesses to be open. Essential businesses must adhere to the policies set forth in NC Executive Order No. 131 released on April 9, 2020

Can we go outside or to the beach?

Yes. In fact, it is good for you to go for walks or sit in the sunshine. Just remember to stay at least six feet away from others at all times and continue to take protective measures to maintain your personal health and well-being.

At this time, beaches remain open. Beaches will be monitored to ensure that social distancing guidelines are adhered to and that there are no gatherings of more than 10 people. If guidelines are not followed, some beaches and public areas may be closed.

Do I have to wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public?

Individuals in Dare County are now required to wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

The CDC advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at a low cost.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Information on masks and children during COVID-19 is available from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The cloth face coverings described are not surgical masks nor N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

When will visitors be allowed entry to Dare County?

Decisions regarding access for visitors will be addressed at a future date following necessary syndrome surveillance and monitoring of resource availability after non- resident property owners return and state orders are updated.

I have additional questions about returning to Dare County, who can I contact? 

You may call the COVID-19 Call Center at 252.475.5008. The Dare County COVID-19 Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Questions on entry can also be sent to COVID19@darenc.com.

References and Definitions

Dare County Stay at Home – Stay Healthy Order 

North Carolina Stay at Home Order

Syndromic Surveillance – relying on detection of health indicators that are discernible before confirmed diagnoses are made.


  • Mike Deeds

    I find it odd that a State stay at home order expires earlier, but a county is allowed to extend it itself? Sounds like an overreach of powers to me.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 10:06 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Just FYI, Mike the governor has said that state orders set a “floor” for restrictions, but that local communities have the ability to impose stricter restrictions if they choose to.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 6:24 pm
  • Pansy M

    Seriously, not until May 4 and why does it take 5 days when after a hurricane we all come at once? How are you keeping the virus out when you allow “the locals” to drive in and out? They are going for medical facilities since your facilities are inept. They are going and buying other communities supplies and possibly bringing virus back. Yet NRPO are the ones that can contaminate you? Dare county power wannabes have lost there way! You are destroying what was a friendly community. Duck alone is made up of 80% NRPO. After this, NRPO’’s throughout OBX will be Selling and then property values plummet. So locals, get ready to see the power hungry wannabes raise the tax rate causing your taxes to jump substantially. Enjoy paying more and having even less infrastructure.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 10:47 am
  • Cam

    Unless you are a Currituck NRPO you can’t come to Dare tomorrow. Makes sense to me. NOT.
    And how about letting Dare BUSINESS open even if not deemed essential…Sure, put out common sense guidelines for ’em but let em get back to work and save their economic lives as soon as possible. And stop the stupid restrictions on outdoor activity … infections start OVERWHELMINGLY indoors and getting outdoors while maintaining social distance is healthier than staying at home.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 11:04 am
  • OBX full timer

    They say they spoke to grocery stores and they say they can handle the additional business??? Really? They still have no TP or Hand Sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. They continue to run out of eggs, some meats and butter often. Just heard Harris Teeter has been cut back to two trucks per week for the foreseeable future. If they can’t handle the current local business how will they handle doubling our numbers? Makes no sense at all. I understand letting the non-resident property owners in ahead of renters but until they know when they’re going to allow renters there’s no reason for the non-resident property owners to be here. None

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 11:17 am
  • B Miller

    I honestly can’t understand what is going on in Dare County.  I thought the announcement on the 21st was going to get things right.  (like Currituck did)

    You’re finally allowing NRHOs in but not until May and then breaking it out according to peoples last names?  What kind of games are you playing?

    But you are not allowing households of property owners in.  ONLY the owners?  Why does that matter?  The idea that a home is ONLY used by the owners is insane.  But perhaps it’s your way of tiptoeing out of legal issues.  It’s too late for that.

    And now you are forcing people to wear masks?  When the rest of the country is removing restrictions, you are adding them.  I sure hope to see everyone of you wearing masks from now on in your BOC meetings and DHHS updates.

    The Outer Banks is not New York City.

    You keep talking about the latest data and facts.  Well, more and more people are realizing the cure is worse than the disease.  And no place quite exemplifies that than Dare County.

    Classic Hypocrisy:
    Near the end of the BOC meeting on April 20th, Commissioner Tobin said he’s going to Florida next week.  What happened to “Say Home, Stay Healthy” you have been preaching ad nauseam?  It’s a good thing Florida is not acting like Dare County.  He wouldn’t be able to go on that trip.  And that applies to any shopping/business you all do outside of the county.  Let that sink in.  You are totally dependent on the good graces of other governments but you won’t show that yourselves.

    Finally, this “Control Group”.  I’m aware that not all business can be conducted by just the BOC and you have to break out certain issues.  However, how can a group with so much power have private meetings without any minutes provided to the public?  The most important discussions are being made by this group but no one can review it.  There are no public votes.  We have no idea if these are unanimous decisions by the Board or not.

    You are so scared, cowardly bunch.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 12:16 pm
  • ww

    So if Currituck lets people into Corolla then does Dare set a roadblock up for coming back out. If not the whole stay at home orders collapse and Dare’s May 4th is a joke. Dare should have coordinated with Currituck and used the May 4 th start time. Maybe this is rocket science.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 12:41 pm
  • jimmy j

    From the Washington Post:

    “There’s a real chance of a W-shaped recovery, the scary scenario when the economy starts looking better and then takes a second hit triggered by reopening too quickly and seeing a second spike in deaths.”

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 4:00 pm
  • Re-Entry

    I agree that it seems that those in charge of Dare County cannot get anything correct. Sure, its a challenging situation but isn’t it times like this that these individuals should show the community their worth? From the beginning, if entry in was going to be blocked for the health of the community then those leaving should have been blocked to exiting and then returning as well. Absolutely illogical to discriminate against some tax payers while allowing others to run up to Hampton Roads or wherever at their sole discretion and then turn around and come back on the island, completely negating the argument that was posed. Now we have Currituck OBX coming back on Thursday while the discrimination continues in Dare until May. And for the business owners who rely on visitor income there is no plan for re entry established. What goods do they order, when do they tell staff to get ready, is there hope for Memorial Day revenue? The county is continuing to create its own legal and financial issues – There needs to be a plan for visitor re entry. There needs to be a discussion around tax credits for the affected property owners and potentially a new tax structure that has two different rates for full time vs part time residents where the full time residents pay a higher rate for the additional benefits that obviously come with being a full time resident – or treat them equally. There also needs to be full disclosure to the community over how each member of the Dare Control Group voted and the decision making processes needs to become public allowing for all members of Dare County to voice support or dissention that can be factored into the final orders. It appears that Dare wants to keep things behind a closed curtain as if their decisions are above and without recourse from its tax payers. There needs to be investigations into those who have made these decisions and if they have potentially benefitted from the closures via their own business interests (loans, negation of payout obligations, etc). I am one that hopes that they have not, because if some of the rumors are true and they have, they should be held to the full accountably of the law and the conflict in interest.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 5:35 pm
  • Liz

    Let me get this straight. Dare County kids can’t go to school, but our county leaders have told NRPOs to “come on down”? What is wrong with this picture?

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 6:17 pm
  • JQ Adams

    The original reason to block access was to protect the residents of Dare County which is valid and understandable. It seems like Dare wants to protect them so long as it does not have a detrimental impact to the small economy.
    Those who constantly bad mouth tourists an nrpo’s do not realize how much the economy and residents depend on the tourism. You want to keep them away from coming to this great county and spending money that supports all local economy.
    The stores are limited now and to say with notification they can be better prepared. So for the past six weeks the stores were warming up to be better prepared?

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 6:52 pm
  • Tom

    ‘Control Group’ I don’t remember seeing ‘Control Group’ on the ballot during the recent election.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 7:40 pm
  • Tom

    Forcing folks to wear masks? No thank you. I don’t live in North Korea, China or any other dictator ruled socialist/communist country.
    Enough with the trampling of civil rights. Judges are now ruling against some of these Unconstitutional executive orders. Yay. I wish that some of these governors would end up in prison – including the one from NC.
    I have health issues that place me at risk, but the Constitution comes first.

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 7:52 pm
  • NC


    Every other county in the state doesn’t allow kids to go to school, yet besides Dare, Currituck, and Hyde, none of them are blocking people from coming in

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 8:18 pm
  • Human Utensil for the Rich

    If this was the month of January with freezing winds, very few would want to come to the Outer Banks.
    The residents of Hatteras Island are very concerned and afraid.
    We no not want to be xenophobic! But we also do not want to see anyone get sick and die.
    Expect to be glared at and shunned by the hyper-stressed. Or worst.
    Some are praying for a long major storm with extreme ocean overwash come May 3th.
    Yes, it will cut off most supplies to our island.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 10:06 pm
  • OBX.Owner

    Will law enforcement check the identification of every person in the vehicle?

    Yes, only those listed on the permit with matching government issued ID will be allowed entry, along with their minor children.

    This was changed today now all immediate family members may enter. All children of any kind and any ages along with parents.

    Contact for questions
    Drew Pearson, CEM
    Dare County Emergency Management
    P.O. Box 1000, Manteo, NC 27954

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 10:52 pm
  • aja

    All due respect, “OBX full timer”, the specific shortages you sited (TP, sanitizer) are no mystery to anyone, anywhere and are not unique to the OBX. People are smart enough to bring their own. Regarding your other grocery concerns… repeatedly, news reports have stated there is no general grocery shortage, nationally or regionally. Please consider the possibility that Harris Teeter hasn’t needed to have more trucks coming in while NRPO’s and visitors have not been “allowed” in the OBX. Maybe it’s a business decision made by a major retailer, realizing there have not been enough customers to justify more truckloads.
    They may also be anticipating a slower and lower seasonal OBX population growth this year.
    Also, no reason for NRPO’s to be here? Consider these… it is their property, they pay taxes, pay utilities, they may need to check on their home and/or make necessary repairs – whether they rent their property or not…all pretty good reasons.
    ” Liz”… again respectfully, school’s out everywhere (NC ,until May 15 I believe, and VA for the remainder of the school year). The difference is, other localities did not ban their property owners from accessing their own homes.

    Wednesday, Apr 22 @ 11:23 pm
  • Steve

    Couple more weeks to enjoy before we have to shelter at home and practice tourist distancing.
    Dare County is welcoming virus spreading beginning May 4

    Thursday, Apr 23 @ 7:21 am
  • Local

    This whole debate is beyond pointless…our entire state has been under travel restrictions with stay home orders in place. No one is supposed to be traveling anywhere except for essential work, custody arrangements, groceries, caring for a sick family member or going somewhere outside for exercise. Those orders are already in place from the governor through the end of April. Currituck seems to be in violation of those orders. Local grocery stores are already facing shortages in many supplies, to be honest the shortages are getting worse not better. I couldn’t find multiple items yesterday that I had no trouble getting the last time I shopped two weeks ago. NRPOs need to bring everything they’ll need for the entire duration of their visit and I seriously don’t want to hear all of them complaining about lack of supplies and being bored since nothing is open here. I feel for all the officers that will now have to work even harder to enforce the restrictions. I just don’t understand all the hostility…people just need to do what they can to protect themselves and others right now.

    Thursday, Apr 23 @ 8:35 am
  • jimmy j

    In 4/23 Washington Post:

    “An easing of restrictions will feed new targets to the coronavirus and increase chances of new surges in infections, math models show.”

    Thursday, Apr 23 @ 9:57 am
  • Disgusted

    Human Utensil says that NRPOs should — “Expect to be glared at and shunned by the hyper-stressed. Or worst.” How sad. The OBX “community” will never again be seen as a welcoming destination to “outsiders” and “locals” and their politicians should prepare for the economic consequences of failing businesses, higher unemployment, increasing crime, increased alcohol and drug dependency, and reduction in social services. All of which will be the result of the hateful, xenophobic (and unconstitutional) attitude of many “locals” and their politicians toward their neighbors and fellow Americans. How truly sad.

    Thursday, Apr 23 @ 11:36 am