June 10, 2020 -- 4:00 pm
Over the last several weeks, Governor Henry McMaster lifted many of the restrictions that were put into place earlier this year to combat the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s “Home or Work Order” was repealed on May 4, 2020; since that time, most restaurants, businesses, amenities and attractions have been permitted to reopen across the state.
As our lives begin to resume some sense of “normalcy,” it’s easy to assume that the worst is behind us. However, recent data from the SCDHEC indicates a significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state over the last few weeks.
At the time the Governor’s “Home or Work Order” was repealed, the state had confirmed approximately 164 new cases per day, on average, over the preceding 7-day period. This number remained relatively flat during the two-weeks following repeal. In recent weeks, however, the number of confirmed cases has risen dramatically. As of June 9th, the state had experienced an average of more than 400 new cases per day over the preceding 7 days, an increase of nearly 250%. [See Chart Below]
During a countywide conference call on Wed. June 10th, representatives from SCDHEC indicated that a portion of this increase can be attributed to higher testing rates across the state. However, SCDHEC also noted an increase in community spread resulting from reduced social distancing. Dr. Katie Richardson of SCDHEC characterized this increase as “alarming” and noted that the growth rate for new cases in the state of South Carolina is currently the fourth highest in the country.
As we move forward into the summer months, the town reminds everyone – residents, property owners, visitors and businesses – to remain vigilant and adhere the following recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
State Health Agencies Issue Joint Statement
On Tuesday, June 9th, SCDHEC, the S.C. Hospital Association (SCHA), S.C. Medical Association (SCMA) and S.C. Office of Rural Health (SCORH), issued the following joint statement:
“DHEC, SCHA, SCMA and SCORH have come together to strongly urge all South Carolinians to actively help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save the lives of our fellow residents by practicing physical social distancing and properly using face masks.
There is rapidly growing medical evidence that the use of face masks along with social distancing can greatly reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in public spaces and places where people at higher risk of severe illness and death from this virus are likely to be present. We must all commit to wearing face masks in public spaces — if we all wear them, we’ll all be protected.
Since the beginning of this public health crisis, our organizations jointly committed to protect the health and welfare of all South Carolinians throughout this pandemic. We’re calling on you for your continued help.
Please join the leaders and staff of DHEC, SCHA, SCMA and SCORH and the physicians and hospital systems we represent in protecting the lives of all South Carolinians by wearing face masks in confined public settings and maintaining at least six feet between those who are not members of your household.
Together, we can turn the tide on the COVID-19 pandemic and save lives in South Carolina.”
This joint statement follows recently updated guidance from the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) that clearly emphasizes the importance of face masks and social distancing in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Update on Town Events
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, several events and activities within the town have been cancelled or rescheduled:
Social Distancing on the Beach
The beaches of Seabrook Island remain open for recreational activities. When visiting the beach, beachgoers are reminded that groups of more than 10 individuals are currently prohibited. All individuals, regardless of whether visiting the beach alone or in a group, should practice “social distancing” by maintaining a minimum separation of 6 feet from others. The town’s beach patrol and code enforcement officers are authorized to enforce these requirements and may order the dispersal of large groups. Violators are also subject to fines of up to $500.00 per day (plus state assessments and surcharges) upon conviction.
Seabrook Island Town Hall is Open to the Public
Seabrook Island Town Hall reopened to the public for regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm) Mon. May 18th. To maintain social distancing, no more than two customers will be allowed inside the building at a time. Public access will be limited to the lobby area only and public restrooms will remain closed. The town has implemented enhanced cleaning practices; however, visitors are encouraged to wear masks and gloves for their own protection. All public meetings – including Town Council, board, commission and committee meetings – will continue to be held “virtually” for the foreseeable future.
The town encourages residents, property owners, business owners and contractors to continue using “virtual services” to the greatest extent possible. For assistance during normal operating hours, please contact us by phone at (843) 768-9121 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For your convenience, the town has also located a drop box on the front porch at Town Hall.
For general questions about COVID-19, please contact the SCDHEC Care Line at (855) 472-3432. Staff will be available to answer calls from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm seven days a week.
For the most reliable information about COVID-19, including what to do if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms, residents are strongly encouraged to visit official resources, including the SCDHEC and CDC websites.
Official updates from the Town of Seabrook Island will continue to be posted on the following channels:
Property owners and managers with rental guests should forward this information to their rental guests. Owners and managers of commercial establishments are also encouraged to share this information with their employees.