COVID-19 forces Dare County to close down entire county, leaving many to sort out vacation plans


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Dare County on Thursday made the call to set up roadblocks and shutdown its beaches in response to the growing coronavirus epidemic. The decision — which has also been made in Alabama and elsewhere in the country — impacts people who want to vacation at North Carolina’s beaches.

The situation isn’t totally foreign to North Carolina, but it’s one usually only seen during hurricanes when officials will limit access to the Outer Banks until the storms pass.

Law enforcement are now blocking off access with checkpoints to every road that leads to Dare County. There are currently no COVID-19 cases in Dare County. Locals said they can live with what amounts to quarantining the area.

“It’s much more manageable with locals that live here to quarantine locals,” one woman told CBS 17’s sister station WAVY.

Only residents, people who work in Dare County, and property owners are allowed in once they show identification.

It’s not known how long the roadblocks will last. Dare County, like so many coastal areas, depends heavily on tourism and vacation rentals.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance said getting refunds after the closures depends on the kind of insurance purchased. Travel insurance with “cancel for any reason” is more expensive, but has people covered in these circumstances. However, there may be restrictions or exclusions even with that higher-priced insurance.

The Department of Insurance also said a landlord may opt to refund money or reschedule a vacation for a future date.

The rental contract should list cancellation provisions, but may not specifically cover this unusual situation. That said, most reputable property management companies will work with people to help resolve issues.

And, because the COVID-19 situation is fluid, things could change.

The following major Outer Banks rental firms have outlined their policies to say how they’re working with vacationers to be flexible: Oak Island Accommodations, Twiddy Vacation Rentals, Sun Realty, and Seaside Vacations.

Anyone renting from an individual can call that person directly to see what can be worked out.

More COVID-19 coverage:

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