COVID-19 Update: Ways to Help, Stay at Home Order Extended, Requirements for Essential Retail, Soil & Water Conservation District Reinstates Rain Barrel Sales 

Posted April 14, 2020 at 4:55 pm     Category: Emergency ManagementEmergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Notice

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – As of April 14, there have been 62 total lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County, and of those there are 29 people still ill and experiencing symptoms, one death and 32 who have recovered. View demographic data on lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Hanover County at Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus.

The number of lab confirmed cases does not represent all possible cases in our community, due to testing criteria and the CDC’s recommendation that people with mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 do not need testing and should stay at home to recover.

Share Cape Fear Provides Ways to Help  

For residents interested in supporting our community during COVID-19, Share Cape Fear offers ways for neighbors, nonprofits and businesses to come together and help. ShareCapeFear.org is a platform supported by the New Hanover Disaster Coalition, Cape Fear Collective and the United Way of the Cape Fear Area. Immediate needs in the community are diapers, food bank donations and cloth face masks for those at risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Visit ShareCapeFear.org to view community organization needs and donate, volunteer or purchase items from wish lists that directly assist those in need.

New Hanover County’s Stay at Home Order Extended Until April 29 

On April 13, New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman, in collaboration with the mayors of the City of Wilmington and the towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, extended the county’s Stay at Home Order until April 29 at 5 p.m. to continue mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

“We have to continue to be diligent in everything we do,” said Olson-Boseman. “And our efforts through social and physical distancing, as well as staying home unless it is essential to go out, are helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 based on the slower rise in our community of confirmed cases. Our actions are also helping to keep our hospital from being overrun and those most at risk safe from severe illness. We aren’t out of the woods yet, and we must continue on this course to keep every single person in our community safe.”

In addition to adding two weeks to the county-wide order, some restrictions have been lifted including the opening of public and private marinas and boat ramps, as well as public and private tennis and pickleball courts. Auto dealerships, boat dealerships and other motor vehicle sales points are now allowed to operate but must comply with an 11-point safety test that is included in the updated order.

Enhancement were also made to the order to include an updated list of essential retail that can be open to include those that sell goods needed for health, sustenance, shelter, safety, security, communication, mobility, clothing and hygiene. Stores providing essential goods will not be asked to close off sections that are deemed non-essential, but dressing rooms must remain closed.

Requirements for Essential Retail

Essential retailers must also comply with the Governor’s Executive Order 131 that limits occupancy, requires social distancing markers, and mandates frequent and routine cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas.

Specifically, retailers are now limited to the greater of twenty percent (20%) of the stated fire capacity OR five customers for every 1,000 square feet of the retailer’s total square footage (which also includes non-customer-facing areas). Retailers must abide by and enforce this maximum and put a notice of the Emergency Maximum Capacity in a place that can easily be seen by the public.

A business can calculate its maximum occupancy using county resources such as tax listings or by using the building’s stated fire capacity deemed by the fire marshal. Real estate records can be searched at Tax.NHCgov.com, where a building’s total square footage can be found under property records.

Retailers are also encouraged to have hand sanitizer accessible for everyone, face masks for employees, and to set special hours for seniors and at-risk people. As a reminder, retailers are able to sell any and all goods online and via curbside pick-up.

View more information and a list of frequently asked questions about the Stay at Home order at Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus.

Soil and Water Conservation District Meeting Canceled, Rain Barrel Sales Reinstated for May and June  

New Hanover County’s Soil and Water Conservation District will reinstate monthly rain barrel sales with online and curbside services in the months of May and June. Rain barrels are offered for purchase by residents to capture rain water from a roof and hold it for later use such as on lawns, gardens or indoor plants. Collecting roof runoff in rain barrels reduces the amount of water that flows from your property and is a way to conserve water for free use at a later time. Sixty gallon and eighty gallon barrels are available for sale. Learn more about rain barrels at SoilWater.NHCgov.com.

To order a rain barrel for pickup, contact the New Hanover County Soil and Water Conservation District at 910-798-7135 or SoilWater@NHCgov.com. Payment and an appointment for curbside pickup can be made over the phone.

Additionally, the Soil and Water Conservation District’s Supervisors meeting scheduled for April 15 has been canceled.

Slow the Spread 

Steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Comply with the Governor’s Stay at Home Order and New Hanover County restrictions.
  • Wear Cloth Face Coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Stay home unless you must travel for essential purposes. If you must leave your home, follow proper physical distancing protocols: don’t gather in groups of more than 10 and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Stay home if you are sick, even if you are an essential worker. And cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops and daily work surfaces).

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As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, there have been 62 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County. For updates and resources related to the COVID-19 virus in New Hanover County, visit Health.NHCgov.com, call our Public Health Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, and follow the county’s trusted social media pages: Twitter, Facebook,  Instagram, and  Nextdoor.

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Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277