Southern Shores Town Council members discuss COVID-19 sick leave, continue to tweak traffic barriers

Published 5:33 pm Monday, August 16, 2021

The August 3 Southern Shores Town Council meeting began with a statement asking all those in attendance to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status due to CDC recommendations and the increase in COVID-19 cases in the county.

Conversations about the pandemic continued as town manager Cliff Ogburn suggested to the council that they continue the policy that offers town employees up to 80-hours of emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) due to infection of COVID-19, caring for a family member with COVID-19 or quarantining while seeking or awaiting test results be contingent upon proof of full vaccination for COVID-19.

While council members approved generally of the concept, they were hesitant to add restrictions to the policy should town employees have need of it. Council member Elizabeth Morey mentioned that some people were hesitant to receive a vaccine that had not been approved by the FDA. Matt Neal cited the possibility of employees having a religious objection to the vaccine, sharing that the COVID-19 vaccine is the first vaccine he has ever received; he has not received previous vaccines due to religious convictions.

Council did approve an incentive of one vacation day for employees who have received or will subsequently receive the vaccination.

Ogburn also updated the council on the status of traffic in areas of heavy congestion and the results of efforts made by the town to relieve residential streets of cut-through traffic. The council opted to eliminate the “no left turn” barriers the past two Sundays and then reevaluate the situation, though that was met by disapproval by a community member during public comment.

The council approved adding two additional barriers though, as Ogburn said, “If we are going to route traffic it’s going to have an impact on someone.” He also added, “I’m getting a sense that the locals are getting tired of these barricades” though the council agreed it seemed like the most successful option. The barricades with local traffic only signs will be on Juniper Trail just past the Food Lion entrance and on Ocean Blvd at NC 12/Duck Rd.

In new business, the council approved budget amendments, made appointments to the planning board and approved a text amendment that removes the possibility of creating a new lot or lots that only have frontage on an easement.

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