Dining out ban, university updates and COVID-19 in New Hanover


Coronavirus Update: Dining out ban, university updates, and COVID-19 in new Hanover County. Photo my Caitlyn Dark, graphic by Lauren Wessell.

Caitlyn Dark, News Editor

On Tuesday afternoon, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order for all restaurants and bars in N.C. to close to dine-in guests, though delivery and take-out options are still allowed.

This move continues efforts by N.C. government officials to discourage gatherings of more than 100 people, where the main goal is to limit further transmission of COVID-19. The order took effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday evening and is expected to stay in effect until further notice.

The dining-in ban comes close on the heels of Gov. Roy Cooper’s order on Saturday to close all N.C. public schools and cancel gatherings of over 100 people. The school closings are currently considered a temporary measure until further details about how to address the remainder of the school year are solidified. Many schools, including the UNC college system, have already announced plans to shift to online/alternative instructional methods for the remainder of the spring semester.

UNC Wilmington’s own plan for shifting the semester completely to online/alternate instruction was officially confirmed in a campus-wide email on Tuesday. UNCW faculty and staff are working to adjust lesson plans and develop materials to adapt to the transition from in-person to online/alternative instruction. Students can expect to hear from their instructors concerning the new structure of their classes by the beginning of next week.

The efforts to reduce concentrated populations on campus continues with Tuesday’s announcement for all on-campus housing to be vacated. Yesterday the college sent out details regarding a window of time when students could retrieve their belongings from the dorm. The current window ends on Sunday, March 22 at 5 p.m.

The university stated that if students are unable to retrieve their belongings at this time, there will be potential future opportunities to do so, but the timing of these future windows will depend on how the course of COVID-19 shapes up over time. Also emphasized with this announcement was that if students are unable to return to their on-campus housing to retrieve their belongings, their rooms would remain locked until they are able to access them.

These moves to limit such large groups of people in our area seems to be right on time. On Wednesday evening, the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 present in New Hanover county was announced by New Brunswick County health officials. The individual had flown into the ILM airport on March 10 when they had begun showing symptoms. They reportedly drove straight home to their residence in New Brunswick County, but any possible interactions are being investigated for immediate testing and treatment.

Those wanting to learn more about COVID-19 are encouraged to visit the CDC’s website, which has information on how to protect yourself from contracting the virus and guidelines on what to do if you get sick from COVID-19.

All UNCW students are encouraged to stay in contact through the university’s social media accounts and email alerts, as well as the university’s dedicated coronavirus website, as the situation continues to develop.