Curfew lifted in Dobson, then reinstated

By Tom Joyce

February 13, 2014

DOBSON — A weather-related curfew for vehicular traffic in the town of Dobson was an off-and-on-again thing on Thursday.

After being imposed at 6 p.m. Wednesday as heavy snowfall blanketed the county seat, the curfew, a rare move for the town, was lifted at 7 a.m. Thursday — only to be reinstated later in the day at 4 p.m.

“This allowed folks to get out and about and that kind of thing,” Dobson Town Manager Josh Smith said.

But problems soon were caused by the lifting of the curfew. “The end result of that was numerous vehicles getting stuck,” Smith said. “We actually had to close a couple of streets.”

The reinstituting of the curfew at 4 p.m. Thursday was done at the request of Dobson’s police chief, the town manager said.

It was to remain in effect until 7 a.m. Friday. Pedestrian travel is not covered under the curfew, nor are “essential” vehicles used for medical or similar purposes.

The two curfews were imposed after a “municipal state of emergency” was declared in Dobson.

Smith had explained Wednesday that town officials were discouraging vehicular travel because Dobson lacks the equipment and manpower to keep its streets cleared of heavy snow, as is the case with larger municipalities.

It also does not have the resources to deal with wrecks and stranded-motorist incidents, he said in explaining the curfew implementation that is allowable under a town ordinance and constitutes a misdemeanor for violators.

Curfew or not, Dobson — normally a thriving center of court, government and college operations — was a virtual ghost town Thursday afternoon.

“It’s a mess,” the town manager reported, saying at the time that snow was falling at the rate of about 2 inches per hour. “Right now the biggest thing is visibility,” Smith said.

The roads in and around Dobson, especially secondary routes, were covered by snow and difficult to traverse, he described.

Smith said nearly all businesses in town were closed anyway, further lessening the motivation for someone to travel there.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.