New ‘guidance’ in Oriental allows some to re-open

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By Diane Miller

ORIENTAL – The guidance we distributed to all businesses who asked was to find if (a) they were directly named by the order(s): restaurants, theaters, gyms, etc. If not directly named, we advised that they could absolutely contact the NC Dept of Revenue and get a determination.

This morning, additional guidance was given from legal counsel: any business (other than those expressly prohibited by Governor’s Executive Orders) can be open IF they can maintain the social distancing required, and limitation on number of patrons (addressed in both Executive Order 121 and Executive Order 131, as well as the extension in Executive Order 135).


On a case by case basis, we have been helping establishments to ascertain if their businesses make the thresholds in above referenced orders. For example, a hotel/B&B is designated an essential business- absolutely and in the orders worded that they can rent to contractors (like our dredgers on contract in Oriental coming from Beaufort and having to work 16 hour days); health professionals (traveling to work in other needed areas).

I did specifically speak with the Governor’s office concerning the hotel exemption and we had a long conversation about what hotels would be used for. Remember that a stay at home order means no travel for recreation /leisure (not essential travel), but then you end up with some “gray” in that a homeowner mid-construction on a second residence here (who cannot legally inhabit a partially built home) and who functions as the General Contractor would be able to stay at a hotel because they are functioning as the Contractor AND it is their residence they are working on.

Some have been really difficult to define. We always refer the business owner to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. But some are easy. If you sell food- (take out)- absolutely can be open; if it’s a medical facility- absolutely. If it’s specifically named business in the Executive Order – exactly what the Executive Order says: Open/Closed.

I hope this answers your question. Our order expires April 30 on visitors. I believe the Board will allow it to expire.