‘Stay Away’: Surf City asks all part-time residents to stay at primary residence

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SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — If you’re not a full-time Surf City resident, the town is asking you to stay away from the island. The Mayor announced additional guidelines Tuesday night.

Mayor Doug Medlin says the statewide stay-at-home order means, stay at your primary residence, not your vacation home.

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“We’re not doing this for the fun of it,” Medlin said “I’ll be fair with you.”

Medlin says this new guideline is for the safety of the people of Surf City.

“Shelter in your home,” he said. “And your home is considered your primary residence.”

Medlin says a lot of people with vacation homes on the island are from COVID-19 hot spots, so they would be putting permanent residents at an even higher risk by coming there.

“And have a threat of bringing the disease in,” Medlin said. “You may not even know that you do it.”

Mike Gallant, who lives there full-time agrees. But he also sees both sides of the issue.

“When you come here from other places, you risk bringing the virus in,” Gallant said. “You also tax our resources and we have limited resources here, like everybody does right now. The other half of that is, if someone owns property here, it’s tough to legally stop someone from visiting their own property.”

Medlin says the decision was tough to make because the town has to weigh the safety of its people, but also think about it’s economic needs. Although the town relies on vacationers, he says they had to put everyone’s safety first.

“Truly, I believe if we do, and follow the regulations, hopefully we’ll be able to get in here and have a wonderful summer,” Medlin said.

Residents like Gallant say for the time being, it’s better for people to stay put at their primary residence to help keep everyone safe.

“I know everybody wants to come to the beach I want to come to the beach,” Gallant said. “I’m a surfer. I want to be on the beach all the time, but right now it’s hard to do, and we just have to be patient and hopefully wait this out.”

Medlin says the town orders follow the same timeline as the state orders, so they will re evaluate them at the end of April.

Public beach accesses remain closed. Medlin reminds people, if your house is on beach, you can still go out there, but you must practice distancing.