By Gregg Bragg, The Island Connection Sr. Staff Writer
Seabrook Town Administrator Joe Cronin must have pressed “numero uno” to kick off the Zoom meeting of Seabrook Island Town Council on July 21. Attendees and Council members alike were treated to nearly five minutes of a makeshift Spanish lesson. If you have yet to tune in, well, you have something to look forward to. Doing your civic duty is rarely so fun. The meeting’s tone took on different weight as the single item of business was presented.
“Emergency Ordinance No. 202004: An emergency ordinance to extend requirements related to social distancing and group congregations; to modify the requirements for certain businesses; to prohibit the sale or consumption of beer, wine or alcoholic liquor on the premises of all persons or businesses licensed to sell beer, wine or alcoholic liquor between the hours of 11 p.m. and 10 a.m.; to extend the prohibition on temporary use permits; to extend the expiration date for active building permits; and other matters related thereto,” read the agenda.
Mayor John Gregg asked for a motion to proceed and specified that the ordinance had been sent to Council members in draft form to accommodate any needed changes. Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Skip Crane provided the necessary motion accompanied by a second from Council member Jeri Finke.
The measure comes on the heels of South Carolina’s governor making a similar move in the wake of the state’s ever rising cases of COVID-19.
Crane declined further comment once the floor was open, but Finke had noticed several comments coming in through the town’s website that she wanted to address.
“I want to stress again that it’s not necessarily how many people are on the island but how people on the island behave – that they are practicing the social distancing, small groups, wearing their masks on the boardwalks even as we encouraged in our last ordinance. Just needing for folks to remember that with some of our most recent significant problems, the citations issued were not for short-term renters. They were property owners. I guess just to plead with everybody to still be nice and hospitable to our guests and to your neighbors and to really think safety, wear your masks, stay apart and follow these rules. They are effective and helpful,” said Finke.
Council Member Patricia Fox had no questions, but made a point to reinforce Finke’s comments.
“The community needs to work together on this. Continue to wear your masks, behave in an appropriate manner and stay socially distant. I think if we continue to do that, we can stay safe,” Fox concluded.
Cronin read eight public comments into the record, seven of them in favor of the proposed ordinance and only one was against, and that was only because the writer thought the action was already addressed at the state level. The measure passed unanimously.