City of Washington declares state of emergency, imposes curfew and travel restrictions

Published 10:39 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The City of Washington formally declared a state of emergency on Wednesday afternoon, imposing travel restrictions within the city limits beginning at 10 p.m. on Thursday evening. From authorizing city staff to restrict access to any area deemed necessary to restricting travel within the city limits through the weekend, the declaration, signed by Washington Mayor Mac Hodges, went into effect at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Travel restrictions

According to the declaration, “In the best interest of public safety, beginning at 10 p.m on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, to Sunday Sept. 16, 2018, travel in the City of Washington should be restricted to emergency situations. This is necessary as the City could be impacted by tornadoes, severe storms, flash flooding, low visibility and sustained winds 50-70 mile per hour during this period. Flash flooding and high winds could create a situation where rescue would be impossible.”

The restriction applies to all areas within the city limits. Exceptions are provided for city employees, law enforcement officials, government employees and service providers responding in official capacities.

Exemptions also apply to, “those whose appearance is essential in order to obtain or furnish a service or commodity which is immediately necessary to sustain the health or well-being of themselves or someone within the curfew area” and “those whose appearance necessarily occurs in the process of leaving a place at which they were temporarily engaged and for which they could not have reasonably planned their departure to avoid appearing during the period during which the curfew is applicable.”

Access to restricted areas

According to the declaration, “City staff will restrict or deny access to any area, location or street where such a restriction is necessary to help overcome this emergency or prevent the emergency from worsening. These restrictions on access shall be indicated by means of barricades, posted notices or orders to anyone in the area. Specifically, the area known as Stewart Parkway will be closed from 10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 until this declaration is lifted.”

No person shall obtain or attempt to gain access to any area, location or street to which the Chief of Police or and his subordinates ore any other agent of the City of Washington has restricted access according to this declaration.”

The declaration also reaffirms the necessity for those in low-lying and flood-prone areas to comply with a mandatory evacuation imposed by Beaufort County Emergency Services on Tuesday.