The Town of Hilton Head Island is working on many levels to ensure public health and safety measures are in place to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. We learned recently that we had at least three cases of COVID-19 in the Hilton Head community; according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Countrol (DHEC), the number could actually be higher.
With that information, we know that collectively and individually, we must all sacrifice and behave responsibly. There are steps we can all voluntarily employ until this coronavirus situation passes over.
I join my fellow Town Council members in asking that you do the following:
• Remain at home unless you need to leave you residence to carry on or receive essential services. The Homeland Security Administration identifies essential services as those needed to continue and support critical infrastructure.
Workers in those areas conduct a range of operations and services including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.
• Get some exercise to lessen the stress this situation brings. In addition to leaving your residence for essential services, we encourage you to leave your residence for exercise - as long as you practice social distancing. Social distancing has been proven to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. It is one step that we will continue to promote, and that leading health entities have advocated we all do.
• Please self-quarantine for 14 days if you have traveled to Hilton Head Island from somewhere else. Gov. Henry McMaster signed an executive order last week requiring this of any persons who travel to South Carolina from any area with substantial community spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Orleans, La. This also applies to residents who have traveled to other areas and are returning to the island.
• Please follow federal guidelines on non-essential travel. This goes for guests who have made plans to come here, but need to now change it. The Hilton Head Island you love needs you to love it from a safe, social distance. We will see you when it's safe to travel again. Likewise, we encourage our residents to stay home and stay healthy. Avoid traveling if you don't have to, so you don't put yourself and others at risk.
For the next several weeks, Town Council will meet weekly, not only to discuss pending council matters, but to remain updated on the coronavirus and consider other actions that might help contain the virus. Reports are mixed on how long this situation will last and our response to it changes as the situation changes.
As we continue to respond to this public health matter, and as we all adjust to the impacts of the coronavirus, we hope that you and your families will follow recommended guidelines and orders.
John McCann is the mayor of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.go