DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – Some non-resident property owners began returning to the Outer Banks Monday.

Dare County Sheriff’s deputies checked re-entry permits, and the non-resident property owners kept coming all day. It will continue through the week.

For more than a month, Dare County has been closed to out-of-town homeowners, to protect residents from COVID-19.

These homeowners will now be allowed back in phases, based on the first letter of the property owner’s last name.

  • Beginning Monday, May 4 at 6 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 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 a.m.: Entry begins for non-resident property owners whose last name begins with S – Z

Amanda Becraft, owner of Dawn Pilates studio in Nags Head, is also a non-resident property owner on the Outer Banks. She lives in Chesapeake and is happy to finally be able to return.

“I was elated, pretty much. We haven’t been here since March 13, is when we closed, both the business and visiting the property,” Becraft told WAVY News 10 Monday. “It’s going on eight weeks now since we’ve been quarantined, but we’ve been taking it very seriously. As a business owner, I could have come over in the interim, but I chose not to just out of respect for the island’s regulations.”

Amanda came across the Wright Memorial Bridge and she was able to return because her last name is in the first phase.

Non-resident property owner Frank Brugh drove six hours from Northern Virginia to get to the Wright Memorial Bridge. He was on his way to his rental property in Rodanthe.

He’s glad to be across the Wright Memorial Bridge.

“We do pay a lot of taxes, so we would kind of like to come down and check on the house,” he said. 

Brugh is not happy it took more than 45 days for him to get to his home because he wasn’t allowed by county order.

“They did say bring your own groceries because they don’t want the permanent residents to have their groceries depleted, so we are making every effort to bring down everything we need with us,” he said. 

Steve Culross from Chesapeake was livid it has taken 45 days to get to his beach home in Kill Devil Hills.

“We [couldn’t] get to our house. We don’t know if it’s OK. We don’t know if it needs attention. We don’t know. We don’t know. I don’t know what I don’t know, and that is a cause of concern,” he said. 

We found the Culross family settling into their home called “Junk-a-Noo” and getting it ready for the summer. Outside, Culross was coming up from the beach after finding coins with a metal detector.

“I still had to make sure the beach was still over there, and I found it. It is still over there.  It feels so great to be back, you just don’t know. You just don’t know,” he said. 

Chris Pippin owns six rentals in Currituck County and was able to re-enter almost two weeks ago because the Board of Commissioners opened up the county.

“I was super frustrated because the construction people themselves could get in, delivery trucks could get in, but the man who was paying the bills couldn’t get in,” he said. 

The restriction led to a lawsuit by six non-resident property owners, two of whom are from Poquoson, for allegedly violating their constitutional rights.

Not everyone is ready to greet the non-residents. Officials have even received reports of flyers left on personal property that read “The residents of Dare county do NOT WANT YOU.”

Related: Reports of flyers sending ‘hateful and negative’ message in Dare County

Culross knows all about that flyer put on out-of-state cars.

“If it weren’t for the non-resident owners, they wouldn’t have an income so they better hush up,” he said. 

Becraft understands both sides of the issue of permanent residents not wanting outsiders on the island.

“I understand that this is an island.  There are 15 cases, which is unbelievable, so I get that side of it… Especially being a tourist destination, you are going to get people from all over, even potentially some people from the hot spots,” she said. 

Culross disagree.

“I can’t go to my own house — it is draconian,” he said.

Non-resident property ownerss whose last names begin with J through R can re-enter Wednesday, and S-Z can enter Friday.   

Visitors are still not allowed on the OBX, which is creating a lot of concern about beach rentals, and the future of what could have been a lucrative summer. 

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