By Joseph Cronin for The Island Connection
In the last 48 hours, the town has received multiple calls and emails from residents, property owners and visitors regarding access to Seabrook Island and its beaches. Given the existing protocols in place to limit public access through the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA) security gate, neither the Town nor SIPOA has implemented additional access restrictions at this time.
Below is a statement from Mayor John Gregg regarding the town’s current status, as well as general guidelines that individuals may take to limit their exposure to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
Statement from Mayor John Gregg
As you may know, several area “beach communities,” including Edisto Beach, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, have implemented restrictions on access to their beaches. In fact, those restrictions are in line with control of access to the Town’s beaches that is affected by the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (“SIPOA”). That is, to have access to SIPOA’s beach accesses, it is necessary to have access through SIPOA’s security gate which is allowed for property owners, residents (including those who are not property owners) and their invited guests (bypasses authorized by property owners and residents).
Currently, “rental guests” can have access through the gate by virtue of having arranged a stay at a Seabrook Island property. The restrictions of the aforementioned beach communities similarly allow persons who have arranged rentals in those communities to access their beaches.
I acknowledge the concerns expressed by some that an influx of rental guests and others into Seabrook Island increases the potential for spread of coronavirus here. No matter any limitations that may be imposed by governmental authorities on access to the Town’s beaches or access to the Town, we must each take responsibility for our own behavior to lessen the chances of being infected. The one practice that is available to all and that is universally recognized as being effective for spread of this disease is “social distancing” (separation by six feet or more from others). That practice is effective because the virus is spread through contact and the recommended separation will place you beyond direct ingestion of virus present in droplets expelled by coughs or sneezes of an infected person.
Avoidance of groups of ten or more is a practice to help individuals practice “social distancing”—much more difficult when in the midst of groups of people.
Practicing “hand hygiene” is effective to avoid indirect contact infection where live virus that persists on surfaces you touch is transferred from your hands to membranes at your face that would allow the virus to enter your body. Practicing “hand hygiene”, means frequent washing of hands with warm, soapy water to kill virus on the hands and wash away the killed virus; and avoiding touching your face with your hands to prevent transfer of virus from your hands to membranes at your face.
The measures taken by the beach communities of Edisto Beach, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island were spurred in part by failure of beachgoers to practice “social distancing”. By recent action of the Governor, law enforcement is specifically tasked to enforce state law providing for dispersal of groups of three or more on SC beaches. That enforcement can include fines and imprisonment.
When on our beaches, the Town’s Code Enforcement Officers will be asking groups of beachgoers they encounter to observe “social distancing” or disperse. I urge those of you who are hosting friends or family to remind them of the importance of practicing “social distancing” while they are on our beaches. If you own property occupied by rental guests, please ask those rental guests to practice “social distancing” while on our beaches.
Mayor, Town of Seabrook Island
For general questions about COVID-19, please contact the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (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:
Town of Seabrook Island Website (townofseabrookisland.org)
Town of Seabrook Island TWITTER feed (twitter.com/seabrookislnd87);
Town of Seabrook Island FACEBOOK page (facebook.com/townofseabrookisland)
Property Owners with rental guests should forward this notice to their rental guests.