WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — The Town of Wrightsville Beach has broken with New Hanover County’s restrictions that closed beaches with the hopes of slowing the spread of Covid-19. But don’t plan for a run on the sand or a surf session just yet, because although beaches will be open, the town has also closed all on-street parking.
While the town is in New Hanover County, state law explains that county state of emergency declarations and restrictions do not extend into municipalities (unless the city or town’s leadership agrees to the restrictions and cosigns them).
There are going to be some restrictions in place at Wrightsville Beach and the town is adamant that failure to follow social distancing guidelines and new rules could lead to the beaches being closed again. Activities that are permitted include walking, jogging, swimming and surfing.
Beach accesses will open at noon on Monday, April 20 with the following restrictions, according to a town press release.
- “With the exception of East Salisbury Street, all access points and beaches will be opened for individual, non-stationary exercise activities to include only walking, jogging, swimming, and surfing/water sports.
- Individuals participating in such exercise activities must follow strict social distancing measures.
- No exercise group shall have more than 10 people.
- Lifeguards will not be on duty.
- Sunbathing, sitting, fishing, games and all other activities will not be permitted on the beaches at this time.
- All beach equipment such as towels, blankets, chairs, tents, coolers, and umbrellas will not be allowed on the beaches at this time.
- Dogs will not be permitted on the beaches.
- Public restroom facilities will remain closed.
- All parks will remain closed, with the exception of walk-in tennis court use.
- All Town-owned parking lots will remain closed to the general public.
- All public, on-street parking spaces are now closed to the public for any use except where allowed as part of this State of Emergency Declaration. This includes all on-street parking spaces that are not obstructed by cones, barricades or that have no parking bags on the meter. Towing will be strictly enforced.
- Town of Wrightsville Beach residents, with a current parking hang tag or tax decal, will be permitted to utilize public on-street parking only if they have no access to parking on their private property.
- Contractors, landscapers, and essential employees that wish to park in an on-street parking space must purchase a parking pass from the Wrightsville Beach Parking office located at 321 Causeway Drive in Wrightsville Beach. Office hours will be from 8:00 a.m. to noon on Monday Wednesday, and Friday. More information may be found on the Town’s website (www.townofwrightsvillebeach.com) or by calling (910) 256-5453. The Parking Office will only be selling contractors passes and will not be performing any other in-person business, such as, the sale of resident parking passes or tax decals.
- There will be limited public parking available for business use. This parking will be located adjacent to those essential businesses only that have no on-site parking and that are open for business. This parking must strictly be used to access those essential businesses only and not to access the beaches. Parking enforcement will be active in these locations.
- Private parking lots may only be used in conjunction with parking for access to essential businesses that are open business. In no event shall a private parking lot be used to park to access the beach.”
Any violation of the restrictions could lead to a charge of a class 2 misdemeanor, a $500 fine, and towing of vehicles.