Dare County, a popular summer vacation area in the state's Outer Banks, has established checkpoints around the county to stop visitors and non-resident property owners from entering.
"These restrictions may be impractical, disappointing and have financial consequences, but they were done in the interest of public safety to limit the spread of COVID-19," Dare County said it in a statement
Since March 17, only permanent residents with proper identification – including a permanent entry permit – have been allowed into Dare County. Companies must apply for entry permits for employees outside the city.
The county implemented the measure after determining that "restrictions and bans are necessary to protect public health and safety," the county said on its website.
Dare County includes the middle section of the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands along the North Carolina coast. A popular tourist destination, the county estimates that the normal daily population of 35,000 people swells to between 225,000 and 300,000 during the summer months.
With its small population and a single hospital, Dare County believes it is necessary to take strict precautions. Outer Banks Hospital
, the primary medical facility there, has only about 20 beds.
"It is important to take action to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19 and not overwhelm our health care system so it can take care of those most at risk and continue to provide routine medical and emergency services," the county said in a previous news coverage.
"The intent of this statement is to reduce the risk of exposure and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Dare County by eliminating non-essential travel, thereby reducing the number of individuals in the county and ultimately reducing potential virus spread and the burden on our health care system," added it to.
Dare County announced its first confirmed coronavirus
case Wednesday and public health personnel have notified persons who have come into close contact with the patient.
More than 900 cases of coronavirus and at least four deaths have been reported in North Carolina