April 2020

A Note About COVID-19 From Our Mayors

Author: John McCann, Lisa Sulka | Photographer: Krisztian Lonyai

A Note from John McCann
COVID-19: What You Can Do

In the last several weeks, I’ve probably touched my phone screen a million times, thumbing through message after message from citizens concerned about how quickly the coronavirus can spread in our community. Since it is entirely possible for us to have people on the Hilton Head Island infected with COVID-19, it’s important that you continue to heed the precautionary warnings we all have been given.

The actions we continue taking over the coming days—both together and as individuals—are critical to ensuring we all get through crisis together and to slowing down the number of people who could become infected.

Practice social distancing. Now more than ever social distancing, as has been preached over and over, must be followed. When we all comply, the rate of infection can decline. This disease spreads when people are in close contact, and few know if they are carriers of the virus. Closing the beach where crowds of people gathered was not something I wanted to do. The environment was ripe for disease to spread among people being close to one another. Given our climate, with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the increased public concern for the health and safety of our residents and guests, please act in the best interest of public welfare.

Re-evaluate your travel plans. Town leaders do not have the authority to close the bridge, but we can ask that you re-evaluate your travel plans. This goes for people who want to visit as well as those wishing to go elsewhere. Ask your friends and family members to consider coming to the island after the situation has calmed down. Every community across the United States is in the same boat, dealing with similar concerns. Coming to Hilton Head Island will not stop the virus from spreading, but you can adjust your plans. This will help to reserve services, supplies and other resources needed for those who live here fulltime. Also, if you have traveled anywhere, I am asking you to self-quarantine for 14 days so you don’t risk transmitting the virus. You may or may not be infected, but this is a step you can take to safeguard against transmission.

Adjust your activities. Unfortunately, we still have people who want to host gatherings, go to the beach, and gather for parties. Large crowds contributed to our decision to shut down beaches. Since then, we’ve heard reports of gatherings at pools and other locations around the island. We hope you will follow Governor McMasters’ order to limit your gathering to three or less.

Support agencies providing aid in this time of need. Town council has heard from our workers and employers about the impact COVID-19 has had on loss of business, jobs and steady income. A number of relief efforts are underway, and I’m asking you to consider donating to agencies such as Deep Well, Sandalwood Food Bank, and the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. They need our support so they can continue helping our residents in need.

John McCann is the mayor of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.gov.

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A Note from Lisa Sulka
Beware of Coronavirus Scammers

As I’ve been saying each day, we are all on edge due to the coronavirus. As much as we all want to go about our daily business as usual, things are different right now. While most of us are supporting one another, looking after neighbors from afar, and helping our children or grandchildren through this tough time, there are others who are taking advantage of the situation.

In the past week, numerous coronavirus scams have popped up. Scams that range from people saying they have a cure for COVID-19 or they have large quantities of hand sanitizer and toilet paper that can be shipped, to emails which could entice you to click harmful links or downloads, or to share your personal information under false pretenses. The scams have gone so far as to have cybercriminals impersonate officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. You’ve probably been inundated with emails about the virus lately, which makes it easier for these cybercriminals to go unnoticed.

If you receive an email, phone call, or text about the coronavirus that is asking you to give money, purchase something in return or click on a link for more information, double check and triple check the source. Do you know the source personally? Do you recognize the company? Is the source trustworthy? Ask these questions before opening the email or text or answering questions over the phone. The Secret Service is also telling people to be wary of emails or phone calls requesting account information or to verify an account, as most businesses would never call you or email you directly to ask for security credentials. Finally, put a website’s domain into a browser yourself to check it.

I hate that there are people out there who will take advantage of this scary and unknown time that we are all in, but unfortunately, it’s the reality. Please heed these warnings and be mindful of the scammers out there. 

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