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Special Town Meeting Summary - April 30
April 30, 2020

n March 17, following the closure of schools, restaurants, and bars in North Carolina, the Town of Oriental enacted a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

town hall sign An amendment was added March 30, closing most of Oriental’s public facilities and requiring visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. That amendment was allowed to expire this morning.

Mayor Sally Belangia, Commissioners David White, Charlie Overcash, Allen Price, and Martin Barrow, and Town Manager Diane Miller were in attendance. Commissioner Dianne Simmons joined via Zoom as did several residents. Those physically present observed social distancing protocols.

The Board, led by a suggestion from Commissioner White, agreed that the amendment be allowed to expire, and Governor Cooper’s less restrictive orders should be followed.

All docks and the fishing pier are again open. Commissioner Price asked that the benches and tables be kept out of Lou Mac Park until larger gatherings are allowed and social distancing restrictions have been lifted. Commissioner Barrow supported the request and the Board agreed.

COVID-19 update
Commissioners keep their distance.

Property owners may travel between residences. Leisure travel, such as vacations, are still not allowed under the Governor’s orders.

The Board agreed that Town Hall is again open to residents, though only one at a time, and cash can once again be accepted for payment of water bills.

The Town Hall board rooms will not be available to small groups or town committees at this time, due to cost of cleaning and potential liability in case of illness. During this time, committee meetings have been conducted remotely between members as any room used in Town Hall is disinfected after each use. Public restrooms, which have remained open, are disinfected 3 times a day.

Of the liability issue, Town Manager Diane Miller said, “If we would choose not to enforce the Governor’s order and someone would become sick or die, then we are then liable for that death/illness as are the people who organized the event or gathering.”

After the motion passed, discussion turned to the 20-21 budget. More information on the budget is coming.

Related Links
Special Town Meeting Summary – March 30, 2020
Special Meeting Agenda
Amendment 1 Revision
General Fund Expenses – Budget

Posted Thursday April 30, 2020 by Allison DeWeese

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