Town Council voted Thursday to rescind the ordinance banning short-term rentals in town. Owners are now free to begin booking guests.
Council agreed to keep the rest of the restrictions the status quo.
Restaurants are only allowed 50% capacity outdoors, and all other businesses are closed. There has been some confusion, mainly Social Media chatter, about whether barbershops and salons in town will be allowed to open.
The beach, park, and public restrooms remain closed.
“We have to circle back around to the beach,” Mayor Dize said. “When the Governor opens the beaches, then we can look at opening up the town.”
“They are already here. Day trippers, campgrounds are open. We need to be prepared. Focus on how we can protect citizens and visitors. Adhere to our guidelines. It’s naïve to think they are not coming,” Councilwoman Holloway said.
Councilman Benett stated that he was worried that the area is already stretched, “Food Lion is completely bought out…with the campgrounds open, it’s going to make it even worse. The same goes for medical.”
The most at-risk group for coronavirus infection are those in the 65 plus age group–that is a large percentage of the town’s population.
While it is recognized that folks are coming, the goal has been to try and slow traffic down, such as closing the beach and most businesses.
Governor Northam’s Phase 1 eases some of his business restrictions, but the Town Council decided to move cautiously, at least until phase 2 is announced.
Here is the official status:
- Short-term rentals are authorized to resume operations in Cape Charles. The Council formally rescinded Ordinance 20200416, that had temporarily closed short-term rental operations. However, operators are requested to ask tenants to bring supplies with them, so as not to over task an already strained supply of local goods for Town residents.
- Transient moorage will be accepted at the Town Harbor. Again, boaters are asked to bring their own supplies, easing the demand on local supplies needed for Town residents.
- Most public restrooms will remain closed.
- The park, playground, and tennis courts will remain closed.
- The fishing pier will remain closed.
- Town offices/facilities will remain closed to the public and continue to operate under the IOP Phase 2 protocols currently in place.
- The beach will remain closed in conformance with Executive Orders 55 and 61.
With the harbor now open to transient boaters, an effort to open the harbor restroom will more than likely have to happen. In the Mason Avenue district, a porta-potty may be placed behind the library. Public Works staff will be responsible for cleaning. Full PPE protocols will be in place for the worker.
One idea floated as a way to increase social distancing, is to close off reverse-angle parking lanes on the north side of Mason. The town is waiting for VDOT to confirm if this can be done.
Public comments were about 50/50 regarding opening the town. The following comment was sent to the Mirror via email:
As a homeowner in Northampton and a regular customer at a lot of the facilities in the town I take offense to the comment of the town manager who said in his latest virus update “Like it or not the tourist season is started”. I believe that comment is unwarranted since the town’s businesses rely on the tourist season to survive. The town should cater to tourists and not a have “Like it or not “ attitude regarding the tourist season. I for one may spend my money elsewhere.