Curfews imposed; alcohol sales banned

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Officials in the Roanoke-Chowan area have declared a State of Emergency in advance of Hurricane Isabel making her expected landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday.

In an effort to ensure public safety, Bertie, Hertford and Northampton county government officials have passed proclamations declaring a State of Emergency. Those proclamations, approved and adopted by the Board of Commissioners in each county, allow the law enforcement officers, employees and emergency management personnel in those counties to implement and enforce the provisions of the proclamation.

Hertford County

In Hertford County, a mandatory curfew begins at 7 p.m. today (Thursday) and ends at 7 a.m. on Friday, unless extended by Board of Commissioners Chairman Johnnie Ray Farmer. With the exception of emergency responders, all Hertford County citizens are required to remain inside a dwelling during the curfew hours.

In addition, the State of Emergency bans the sale, consumption, transportation or possession of alcoholic beverages in Hertford County. The exception to the rule is that possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on a person’s own premises. This ban will be imposed between the hours of 12 midnight on Wednesday until 8 a.m. on Friday. That time frame may be extended by order of Chairman Farmer.

The State of Emergency proclamation adopted by Hertford County also prohibits the sale or purchase of any type of firearm and ammunition. Possession of these items, along with explosives, are banned off the premises of their owners.

Storm shelters in Hertford County opened at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Hertford County High School and Hertford County Middle School.

Northampton County

Virginia Spruill, Chairwoman of the Northampton County Board of Commissioners, also signed a proclamation on Wednesday that places county residents under a curfew, bans the sale of alcohol and firearms/ammo during a period that begins on Thursday. That State of Emergency proclamation was approved by the Board of Commissioners during an emergency meeting held earlier on Wednesday.

Northampton’s curfew calls for all county residents, except for emergency responders, to be inside a house or public shelter between the hours of 6 p.m. on Thursday until 6 a.m. on Friday. The curfew may be continued later on Friday, contingent upon the impact of the storm on Northampton County.

Effective at 8 a.m. on Thursday, the sale, consumption, transportation or possession of alcoholic beverages in Northampton County is banned. The ban, which does not include possession/consumption of alcohol on a person’s own premises, will remain in effect until such time that the proclamation of the State of Emergency is lifted.

Northampton officials also banned the sale, purchase or (off-premise) possession of firearms, ammunition and explosive during the emergency declaration.

All Northampton County local government offices will be closed Thursday. A decision regarding county government operations on Friday will be made and announced pending assessment of weather-related conditions on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Northampton officials opened two primary storm shelters at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Conway Middle School and Northampton County High School-West. Additional shelters located at W.S. Creecy Elementary School (Rich Square) and Roanoke-Wildwood Fire Department (Pea Hill Creek area near Lake Gaston) will open for use on an as-needed basis.

Bertie County

Bertie County officials stopped short of imposing any type of curfew during the storm, but did adopt a resolution banning the sale, possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. There was no specified end to that ban as such has to be adopted and passed by a separate proclamation. The possession/consumption ruling does not apply to a person’s place of residence.

Bertie’s proclamation also prohibits price gouging. Those arrested for purposely raising the price of goods or commodities during a natural disaster face penalties up to a $200 fine and 30 days in jail per offense. Each sale constitutes one offense.

With the exception of the Sheriff’s Department, all Bertie County government offices closed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and will remained closed through today (Thursday). Friday’s work schedule will depend on the severity of the damage left in the hurricane’s wake.

Meanwhile, Bertie’s Department of Social Services will open and staff the county’s three storm shelters – Colerain Elementary, Southwestern Middle School and West Bertie Elementary. Those shelters opened at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening and will remain open as long as needed.

In emergency situations during the storm, those in Bertie County needing DSS Child Protective Services are asked to call the Sheriff’s Office (794-5330) and a DSS Social Worker will be paged.

For additional information, call either 794-6370 or 794-6371 or log onto