North Carolina residents spend time outdoors before state "stay at home" order goes into effect

Posted at 8:54 PM, Mar 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 21:33:54-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- Starting Monday at 5:00 p.m., residents across North Carolina are ordered to stay at home. The so-called “Stay at Home” order was announced by Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

As of Sunday, the state had over 1,100 reported coronavirus cases, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at John Hopkins University. The same Sunday, residents spent time at Waterfront Park in Elizabeth City walking, running, walking their dogs, fishing, and some were on their boats.

Addy Wat and Jared Bisila drove two-and-a-half hours from Raleigh to soak in everything the park and the day had to offer them. Wat said she used to live in Elizabeth City and is ready for the order to go into effect.

"I ordered toilet and that's about it. I'm trying to get all the traveling done and out of body and system before it shuts down," Wat said. "I'm just going to be trapped inside of my house so I'm very excited about it."

The two were sitting on a bench overlooking the Pasquotank River. Bisila said he is ready too

"I'm used to being alone and being inside so I'm just here for the ride and here for her," Bisila said.

He is from Minnesota where that state has a similar order already in effect. He was supposed come next week but changed his plans.

"I'm glad I came down and it's unfortunate the shut down is happening but I would do it again," Bisila said.

Meanwhile, William Schackelford and Sean Bladow spent the afternoon fishing on a boat.Bladow said he might take the boat out again on Monday before 5 p.m.

"I'm off for another week or two and if you don't have to be in until 5:00 p.m.," Bladow said, "then I might bring the boat out here a few more days, during the day."

They did not catch any fish today, but said hey will catch hours at work. They said they are deemed as essential employees based on their jobs.

"I believe we're going to keep working," Bladow said. "I'm just on my time off before I go back."

"I do pipe work, we're going to be working, we're essential," Schackelford said. "You need water, you need sewer."

Even Wat said her job at GameStop was essential, based on what she was told.

"all I do is stand inside a store and bring videogames out to people," She said. "It's essential apparently and it's booming."

Though they are ready, they added they do have concerns. Wat said the area has lots of blue-collar workers and wonders how they will get by.

"Especially, because everything is shutting down," She said, "and they're not going to have work to do so that worries me."

North Carolina's order is set to expire on April 29. Cooper's order comes after Dare County started its own "stay at home order," which is already in effect.

That order restricts entry into that county and will not allow visitors in. There is no set date as to when that will expire.