Hyde County closing mainland access to visitors; further restricting access to Ocracoke

Ocracoke Island [Kari Pugh photo]

Hyde County commissioners have tightened restrictions for travel to Ocracoke, and has also ordered visitors to stay out of the mainland portion of the county.

Full statement from Hyde County:

On March 27, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper ordered people in the state of North Carolina to stay at home for thirty days, until April 29, 2020, in another step to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

Governor Cooper’s Executive Order takes effect on Monday, March 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and reduces the size of gatherings to 10 people. The Order provides for essential businesses to continue to operate while prioritizing social distancing measures.

You should only leave the house for work at an essential business, getting necessities for your home, getting medical help, helping others, or exercise. Anyone leaving their home should also continue to practice social distancing and remain at least six feet away from others. The Order has the force of law and will be enforced in all 100 counties statewide.  Click here for full order.

In accordance with this order, on March 30, 2020 the Hyde County Board of Commissioners amended the local State of Emergency Order adopting the guidelines set forth in the Governor’s Order. This includes amending the prohibition of mass gatherings to 10 or more people, adopting the Stay at Home order, and adopting the definition of Essential Businesses and Operations as stated in the order. We strongly discourage mass gatherings of less than ten people, except for those necessary for essential businesses and operations or those composed by members of the same family. This order goes into effect at 5:00 p.m. March 30, 2020.

Furthermore, visitation to Mainland Hyde County is prohibited until further notice. Residents from Beaufort, Dare, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties shall be granted entry only for those activities permitted by the Governor’s Stay at Home Order.

The order also adds additional restrictions to access Ocracoke for non-resident property owners and workers. Only people working on critical repairs requiring a building permit will be issued temporary entry permits. Other repairs will need to wait until the Governor’s order is lifted to continue. Permit applications will be evaluated on a case by case basis and will be verified before an entry permit is issued. Temporary permits issued prior to this order that cannot be verified using the amended entry guidelines will be voided. The NCDOT Ferry Division will have access to a list of all permits issued and will deny entry if you have not been verified.

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. Anyone that is not working on critical repairs should adhere to the Governor’s order and return home by 5:00 pm March 30. If you believe your project fits the criteria to be issued a temporary entry permit, 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.

Ocracoke entry will be restricted to the following priorities:


  • Hyde County/State/Federal Requested Resources
  • Hyde County Emergency Personnel
  • Medical/Clinic
  • 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


  • Distributors
  • Suppliers
  • Vendors


  • 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.

Please continue to remain calm but vigilant in the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19. Maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others, wash your hands as directed by the CDC, and whenever possible please stay home. Together we can stop the spread of this pandemic in our county, state, and nation!

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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