Town of Seabrook Island Issues Public Advisory #15 on COVID-19; Short-Term Rental Restrictions Extended through May 15

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April 22, 2020 — 8:30 pm

Town Council Amends Emergency Ordinance No. 2020-01
On April 22, 2020, Seabrook Island Town Council held a meeting to consider amendments to Emergency Ordinance No. 2020-01, which was previously adopted on April 1st. In addition to several “housekeeping” items which were intended to bring the town’s ordinance into conformity with recent orders from the Governor of South Carolina, Town Council approved several amendments to the town’s current restrictions on short-term rental units. Effective immediately:

  • Short-term rental guests are prohibited from “checking-in” or otherwise occupying a short-term rental unit through 11:59 pm on May 15th (previously April 30th).
  • Owners and managers of all short-term rental units within the town are prohibited from accepting new reservations for stays commencing on or before May 15th (previously April 30th).
  • Owners, managers and anyone else involved in the advertising of a short-term rental unit within the town are prohibited from advertising the unit’s availability through May 15th (previously April 30th).
  • Where provided, any online booking calendars for such units (including Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway, etc.) shall indicate that the unit is not available until after May 15th (previously April 30th).

The restrictions listed above apply to any dwelling unit or property that is rented, or offered for rent, to any individual or group of individuals, for temporary occupancy for a period not to exceed 28 days. As a reminder, the Governor’s Executive Order No. 2020-19 prohibits the rental of a short-term rental unit to any individual from the states of New York, New Jersey or Connecticut for a term of less than 90 days.

The short-term rental restrictions do not apply to members of the property owner’s immediate family, including a parent, sibling, child, spouse, grandparent or grandchild.

More InformationView Emergency Ordinance No. 2020-01 (Amended)  |  View Town Council Meeting Video (YouTube)

Short-Term Rental Violations
In addition to the emergency restrictions on advertising and new check-ins, all rental properties operating within the town are required to have a valid town business license for 2020. The town’s code enforcement officers are actively working to identify, investigate and enforce alleged violations of the town’s ordinances. To date, the town has issued 8 ordinance summons for alleged violations. An additional 14 summons are currently pending issuance, and nearly a dozen potential violations are currently under investigation. Violations of a town ordinance can carry fines of up to $500.00 per day (plus state assessments and surcharges). Individuals who are found guilty of violating a town ordinance may also be subject to a suspension or revocation of their business license. To report a possible violation, please contact us by phone at (843) 768-9121 or by email at info@townofseabrookisland.org.

Governor McMaster Relaxes Restrictions on Retail Stores
On April 20th, Governor Henry McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-28, which authorized the limited reopening of the following types of retail establishments:

  • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
  • Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
  • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
  • Department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Book, craft, and music stores
  • Flea markets
  • Florists and flower stores

The Governor’s order limits the maximum occupancy of any such business to the lesser of 5 people per 1,000 square feet or 20% of the establishment’s fire rated capacity.

The following types of businesses were unaffected by the Governor’s order and must remain closed for the time being: restaurants and bars; entertainment venues and facilities; recreational and athletic facilities and activities; and close contact service providers.

More InformationView Executive Order No. 2020-28

South Carolina Schools Closed for the Remainder of the Academic Year
On April 22nd, Governor Henry McMaster and State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced that all public schools in the state of South Carolina would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. During a press conference on Wednesday morning, the Governor stated that he will issue an executive order next week detailing a plan to keep schools closed. Parents with children who attend private schools should contact those schools directly for more information about their operational plans for the remainder of the school year.

Seabrook Island Town Hall Closed
As a reminder, Town Hall remains closed and members of town staff are working remotely to provide “virtual services” to residents and business owners. For assistance during normal operating hours (Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm), please contact us by phone at (843) 768-9121 or by email at info@townofseabrookisland.org. The town’s Code Enforcement Officers and Beach Patrol will remain active on the island as long as it is safe for them to do so. All public meetings have been cancelled through April 30th, with the exception of emergency meetings.

Protect Yourself and Others
To minimize the risk of exposure and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that individuals take the following precautions:

  • Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer, avoid of touching your face and mouth, and avoid shaking hands with others.
  • Social Distancing: Maintain at least six feet of separation between yourself and others.
  • Travel: Avoid unnecessary travel, especially to areas of high concentrations of cases of infection.
  • Limit Contact with the Sick and Elderly: Cease visits to nursing homes and other extended care facilities, except in the case of end-of-life circumstances.
  • Wear a Face Covering or Mask: The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings or masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas with significant community-based transmission.

More Information
For general questions about COVID-19, please contact the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Care Line at (855) 472-3432. Staff will be available to answer calls from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm seven days a week.

For the most reliable information about COVID-19, including what to do if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms, residents are strongly encouraged to visit official resources, including the SCDHEC and CDC websites.

Official updates from the Town of Seabrook Island will continue to be posted on the following channels:

Property Owners with rental guests should forward this notice to their rental guests.

-Submitted by Joseph M. Cronin, Town Administrator, Town of Seabrook Island

 

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