PI town hall

Pawleys Island Town Council took just five minutes Saturday, March 21 to approve an emergency resolution and ordinance for a State of Emergency declaration for the Town.

The brief 2 p.m. meeting was held in the Nature Park Gazebo adjacent to Town Hall.

With that resolution, the coastal town joins with the State of South Carolina, Georgetown County and the City of Georgetown in suspending some of its normal operating procedures.

Because of the COVID-19 virus that got its start in bat caves near Wuhan, China, worldwide health concerns have brought about illness and death among many.

The ordinance states “It is well recognized that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID19, presents a public health concern that requires extraordinary protective measures and vigilance.”

The Town of Pawleys Island suspends its normal operating procedures. Among other things, that allows the mayor and Town Council to participate in meetings and votes by telephone or other electronic means. The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows for such an action in emergency situations, though other aspects of FOIA must still be followed.

Town Hall is closed to the public, with Town business being conducted by telephone and virtual means.

In conjunction with state and county policies and recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “All public gatherings of any type, whether organized or otherwise, of greater than 10 persons are prohibited.”

As is typical of such a State of Emergency declaration, the Town’s ordinance states that it “Reserve(s) the right to impose further restrictions deemed necessary as the Pandemic progresses.”

Town Administrator Ryan Fabbri said all five members of Council made it to the meeting, which lasted no more than five minutes.

While groups larger than 10 people are prohibited, he said, that doesn’t apply to families that are already in a house on the island for vacation.

“Of course, we are being pragmatic,” Fabbri told the Georgetown Times / South Strand News.

“There are more people on the beach than you would want to see given the current situation, but we’re not like Myrtle Beach or other areas. It’s OK.”

The ordinance and its emergency procedures are adopted for a period of 61 days. Depending on the situation with the Coronavirus, the ordinance is subject to either termination or extension.

For information on specific changes to Town operating procedures, you may see the state on the Town of Pawleys Island Web site: