News Release

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Mayor John McCann Declares Local State of Emergency

August 16, 2021

Hilton Head Island Mayor John McCann signed a local State of Emergency today in response to increasing COVID-19 cases and transmission. The emergency order went into effect immediately. With this order, Mayor McCann seeks to protect Town staff and the community as a whole by focusing enhanced attention on this critical situation.

In this declaration, the Mayor encourages local residents to take preventative measures including wearing masks in enclosed areas with other individuals, getting an approved COVID-19 vaccine, practicing good hand hygiene, and practicing social distancing in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The emergency order gives Town Manager Marc Orlando the authority to implement administrative changes in how the organization functions during the emergency and allows for virtual public meetings. With this order, Orlando is requiring that members of  the public wear face coverings inside of Town buildings. Also, Town Council meetings will be held using a hybrid approach.

Town buildings include:

•  The Stephen G. Riley Municipal Complex, 1 Town Center Court
•  Fire and Rescue Headquarters, 40 Summit Drive, and all Fire Stations
•  Facilities Management Office, 12A Gateway Circle
•  Information Technology Office, 58 Shelter Cove Lane

Town Council will continue to meet in person but Council Members who are unable to attend in person may attend virtually. The Town Council meetings will be streamed live on the Town's public meetings Facebook page. The next meeting is scheduled for 4 pm, Tuesday, August 17. At that meeting, Town Council will have further discussion about the local state of emergency.

"Given the steady rise we are seeing in community with COVID-19 cases and transmissions, this is the right step to protect our public and Town employees," said Mayor McCann. "Until more people become vaccinated to protect themselves and others, we will probably be wearing masks for a little while longer. It is my hope that those in our community who are not vaccinated will consider getting a vaccine and help our community move past this pandemic."

According to the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Delta version of the virus grew from less than 1 percent of cases in May to more than 80 percent in July. Delta spreads about twice as easily as past strains of the virus and its victims are mostly people who are unvaccinated.

Carolyn Grant , Communications Director