Non-resident property owners sue Dare County over restricted county access due to COVID-19 pandemic

North Carolina

DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Six out-of-state, non-resident property owners are suing Dare County over restricted access to the county due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dare County closed to non-resident property owners on March 20, after originally declaring a State of Emergency due to the coronavirus on March 16, to help limit the number of people in the county and prevent the spread of the virus.

As of Wednesday, 10 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County, county officials say. 5 have completely recovered, 3 are asymptomatic (no symptoms), 1 is recovering at home in isolation and the last is hospitalized out of the county.

The county has set up entry checkpoints, and those trying to enter must show a North Carolina driver’s license or other government ID showing a Dare, Currituck, Hyde or Tyrrell county address, or a “Permanent Resident Entry Permit.”

The plaintiffs, from Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina, say the resolution adopted by Dare County is unconstitutional and they should be able to enter the county right away to prepare their properties for the spring and summer season.

They argue that pursuant to North Carolina law, the March 20 declaration must be made through an ordinance rather than a resolution. “The Dare County State of Emergency Declaration is therefore an ultra vires act of the County as it was not lawfully enacted in accordance with a valid Emergency Management Ordinance,” the lawsuit states.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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