Three North Carolina Coastal Reserve sites reopen to visitors on May 9

Morehead City

The N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve will reopen the Rachel Carson, Masonboro Island, and Bird Island Reserves to visitors on May 9, 2020 as North Carolina enters Phase 1 of the state’s plan of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions.

The sites were closed on April 3 to protect public safety and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to support state and local restrictions and guidance. All other reserve sites remain open.

The reserves will continue to closely monitor state and local COVID-19 guidelines and directives and encourage reserve visitors to comply with these measures to protect themselves and their communities. In accordance with Executive Order No. 138, mass gatherings that bring together more than 10 persons at a time continue to be prohibited.

Visitors are strongly advised to take the following steps to reduce transmission while visiting a reserve:

  1. Postpone your visit if you are sick or experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  2. Maintain at least six feet social distancing from other individuals, with the exception of family or household members.
  3. Wear a cloth face covering outdoors when you cannot maintain at least six feet distancing from other people with the exception of family or household members. These coverings function to protect other people more than the wearer.
  4. Carry hand sanitizer with you when leaving home and use it frequently.
  5. Avoid touching surfaces others may have touched, such as signs and boardwalk railings.   
  6. Do not share any personal items, including phones, cameras, water bottles, and recreational equipment.

Additional guidance for visitors and future updates can be found on the N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve website.

The N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve Program protects natural areas for education, research and compatible recreation. Since its creation in 1989, the program has preserved more than 44,000 acres of unique coastal environments at 10 sites along the coast.

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