Tyrrell commissioners update State of Emergency Ordinance

Published 11:08 pm Friday, June 26, 2020

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Back on May 5, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread disease and fear worldwide, and the 2020 hurricane season approached, the Tyrrell County Board of Commissioners updated the county’s State of Emergency Ordinance.

North Carolina law authorizes counties to declare states of emergency and enact ordinances to address them.

The Tyrrell ordinance authorizes the board of commissioners or its chairman, acting individually, to declare a state of emergency and impose prohibitions and restrictions as authorized by the ordinance “and other statutory authority.”

The document declaring the state of emergency may:

(1) provide for the closure of streets, roads, highways, bridges and other public vehicular areas, except for use by emergency responders and others engaged in recovery efforts.

(2) impose a curfew prohibiting in certain areas and during certain times the appearance in public of anyone who is not a member of an exempted class, such as persons working to preserve public health, safety and welfare.

(3) prohibit possession or consumption of beer, wine, or liquor except on one’s own property; prohibit production, transfer, transportation, sale or purchase of any alcoholic beverage in the county.

(4) prohibit or restrict the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, storage and use of gasoline, dangerous weapons, firearms and substances (defined later in this report), except that the proclamation shall not place prohibition or restrictions on lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition.

(5) prohibit or restrict the movement of people in public places, the operation of offices, business establishments and all other places to or from which people may travel or which they may congregate and any other activities or conditions the control of which may be reasonably necessary to maintain order and protect lives or property during the state of emergency in the areas designated.

(6) prohibit obtaining access or attempting to obtain access to any area so designated by document or object in violation of any official order, proclamation, posted notice, or barricade indicating that the access is denied or restricted. The sheriff, emergency management director and other law enforcement officers are directed to restrict or deny access to any area when reasonably necessary to promote efforts being made to overcome the emergency or otherwise prevent further aggravation of the emergency.

NCGS 14-288.1(2) defines “Dangerous weapon or substance” as “Any deadly weapon, ammunition, explosive, incendiary device, radioactive material or device, as defined in G.S. 14-288.8(c)(5), or any instrument or substance designed for a use that carries a threat of serious bodily injury or destruction of property; or any instrument or substance that is capable of being used to inflict serious bodily injury, when the circumstances indicate a probability that such instrument or substance will be so used; or any part or ingredient in any instrument or substance included above, when the circumstances indicate a probability that such part or ingredient will be so used.”

NCGS 14-409.39(2) defines “firearm” and “A handgun, shotgun, or rifle which expels a projectile by action

of an explosion.” Subsection (3) defines “handgun” as “A pistol, revolver, or other gun that has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.”

A declaration of a state of emergency triggers the prohibitions against excessive pricing during states of emergency, disaster or abnormal market disruptions pursuant to NCGS 75-37,38.

Violation of a prohibition or restriction contained in an emergency proclamation is a Class 2 misdemeanor.