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October-November Message from Town Hall

Fri, 10/23/2020

Fall Message

Good morning Island residents,

With the Halloween and various November holidays upon us you may find an update from Town Hall helpful.

COVID-19 Update and Operating Protocols

As of 1159 PM Wednesday 10-21-20 the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 686 new confirmed cases and 86 probable cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, 11 additional confirmed deaths and 1 new probable death. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 159,433, probable cases to 6,924, confirmed deaths to 3,487 and 221 probable deaths.  

You are reminded that the best precautions continue to be the practice of social distancing (when around others try to maintain 6 feet of separation); avoid large crowds and gatherings; if you are sick isolate your self at home; and, given that a face mask decreases the risk of spreading COVID-19 wear a cloth face mask that covers your mouth and nose when around others and in public settings. Likewise, getting tested is important.  DHEC and CDC websites provide ample information with regard to who should be tested and location of testing sites. Finally, adults age 65 and older and people with underlying conditions are a greater risk of becoming severely ill. This demographic should take extra precautions to protect themselves.

State, county and municipal agencies continue to operate at OPCON-2 with limited or no access to public buildings and spaces. At the Town, employees continue to staff Town Hall as opposed to virtual work. The small staff size allows employees to maintain social distance. Limited public visitation to the building is allowed with a prearranged appointment. All services conducted by Town Hall are available virtually. Municipal court continues under guidelines set by Chief Justice Beatty. The playgrounds, parks and tennis/basketball courts are open but users assume liability as the Town is not cleaning touch surfaces.

The Town will continue to work with federal, state and county agencies in response to the pandemic.   Governor McMaster’s Executive Order 2020-65 issued on October 9, 2020 serves as the prevailing law on COVID-19 related matters. 

2020 Atlantic Ocean Hurricane Season

With about 40 days remaining (or 960 hours but who is counting) in the 2020 season, the Town is looking forward to its conclusion on November 30th.  Staff has been standing-by at the ready since the first of June to respond to storm conditions that could impact the Island.  Thus far in the season there have been a total of 27 tropical or subtropical cyclones, 26 named storms, 10 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. As of this writing Hurricane Epsilon churns at 90mph sustained in a general southeast position from Bermuda sending swells and modest rip currents to Sullivan’s Island for the weekend.

Residents are encouraged to monitor the local media outlets through the remainder of the storm season.

Celebrating Halloween On Sullivan’s Island

In an effort to reduce exposure to or spreading of COVID-19, several of the traditional Halloween events will not occur this year. Traditionally, the Sullivan’s Island Police and Fire Departments have blocked I’On Avenue between Stations 17 and 18 for children to enjoy Trick or Treat fun along Officers’ Row without the concern of motor vehicles.  To minimize a large gathering in this area, the street will remain open to motor vehicles. Similarly, the “Trunk or Treat” event at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School has been cancelled.

Although these fun events will not take place this year, it is still possible to celebrate Halloween while avoiding the concern of being exposed to or spreading COVID-19. The Town encourages everyone to

  • Consider the Centers for Disease Control suggestions for Halloween activities
  • Wear a mask with your costume
  • Maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more
  • Do not cluster at one door; wait until others leave before approaching
  • Dispense and/or collect prepackaged candy only
  • Offer and/or carry hand sanitizer
  • Do not dispense from or receive from common contact candy bowls
  • Parties with family members only are encouraged and should be held in an outside setting if possible

Prizes will be awarded individually  for costumes in the zero to preschool age; elementary age; middle through high school age; and, adult categories. Additionally there are prizes awarded for the best family costume and pet costume.

Rules include: competition is limited Island residents of all ages; those under 18 years of age must have permission from a parent or legal guardian; only one entry per category/per individual; and, submission of form and photo by close of business Wednesday 10-28-20.

Observed Holidays in November 2020

The observed November holidays for the Town include Veterans’ Day Wednesday 11-11-20; Thanksgiving Day 11-26-20; and the Friday after Thanksgiving 11-27-20. Town Hall will be closed but all essential services will be fully staffed.  These holidays will not alter the weekly schedule of Tuesday household garbage or Wednesday yard debris collection.  Likewise, the curbside recycle program by Charleston County remains on schedule.   

Town Capital Projects

You may have noticed a considerable amount of construction activity around the Island on various Town properties. A brief summary of the activity is provided but if you have interest in greater detail please do not hesitate to contact me by email at abenke@sullivansisland.sc.gov.

  1. Wastewater Treatment Plant Retrofit – Garney Construction is maintaining its schedule on a retrofit of the wastewater treatment plant that is anticipated to service the Island for the next 50 plus years. A few of the improvements include new oxidation treatment, headworks, sludge press, elevated control room and chlorine contact.
  2. Wastewater Lift Stations – Republic Contracting Corporation has begun the retrofit of all lift stations across the Island. Improvements include submersible pumps and generator power.
  3. Station 22.5 Street at Jasper Crosswalk – Look for construction at the corner that will allow for students to cross Jasper Boulevard at Station 22.5 Street in a marked crosswalk. The project that has received approval from SCDOT, DHEC and Charleston County should begin in January 2021.
  4. Fire Station Renovation and Storage Facility – Trident Construction has been nominated as the contractor to retrofit the 1991 built Sullivan’s Island Fire Station design by Applied Building Sciences. It is anticipated that pre-construction work will commence in November with very noticeable construction activity by early January 2021.  The staff along with firefighting, rescue and maintenance equipment is in the process of re-locating to temporary quarters at the Fish Fry Shack on Hennessy Street (unfortunately no Oyster Roast or Fish Fry in 2021).  A target date for returning to the building is tentatively set for August 2021. Conceptual drawings to be posted on the Town website when available.

Fall is a great season to be on the Island. The hustle of summer crowds has slowed dramatically, humidity remains somewhat but is certainly tolerable, water temperatures drop to a pleasant and refreshing level, the bite is on in the creeks as fish sense that bait is leaving shallow water for the coming winter, frequency of rideable surf is better and sunsets are dramatic looking back toward the peninsula. Enjoy the October and November holidays on the Island!!!!!!

Regards,

Andy Benke
Town Administrator