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Emergency shelters to close; Perquimans lifts curfew, bans on alcohol, firearms sales

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From staff reports

Friday, September 14, 2018

A pair of emergency shelters that opened Wednesday prior to Hurricane Florence’s arrival on Friday will be closing because of the storm’s minimal impacts on the area. 

In a related development, Perquimans County lifted its state of emergency at 3 p.m. Friday, ending its nightly curfew and bans on the sale of alcohol, firearms and ammunition. County officials cited Florence’s continued movement toward the west and southwest for the move.

Elizabeth City officials announced the city’s state of emergency would end at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

The American Red Cross shelter at the K.E. White Center, meanwhile, closed at 2 p.m. Friday, Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Management Coordinator Christy Saunders said.

Likewise, the emergency shelter at Perquimans County High School was set to close, Perquimans County Manager Frank Heath said.  

“Based on the minimal impacts from Hurricane Florence and its continued movement to the west southwest, it is our plan to close the shelter at the high school,” Heath said in an email to county commissioners and county employees. “The folks who resided there last night are in agreement and the work to close the shelter will begin soon.”

Jonathan Nixon, Perquimans Emergency Management coordinator, said the shelter was scheduled to close at noon.

Red Cross volunteer coordinator Carolyn Self said that, as of 8 a.m. Thursday, 56 people had sought emergency shelter at the K.E. White, with more expected later on. The shelter’s occupancy was limited to 330.

Self said the shelter seemed to draw people who live in very low-lying, vulnerable areas. Most of those seeking refuge at the shelter who spoke to a Daily Advance reporter Wednesday said they live in low-lying areas. 

Self  thanked agencies supporting the shelter. The Salvation Army provided meals, Pasquotank social services and Albemarle Regional Health Services provided medical help, and the Elizabeth City Police Department had an officer on duty.

Self said there had not been any incidents, noting of people who stay at shelters, "they're usually pretty good groups."

About 18 people stayed at the Perquimans shelter, Heath said. Like Self, he praised those who had worked at the shelter since Wednesday.

“Again, special thanks to all of those social services employees and school resource officers who manned the shelter over the last couple of days. They did a great job,” he said.

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