BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – Three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Beaufort County with more than two dozen confirmed throughout South Carolina.
Gov. Henry McMaster has also declared a state of emergency and temporarily closed schools as a result of the outbreak.
In response, the city of Beaufort and Beaufort County have undertaken a number of measures to “better protect the public” and employees.
The following applies to the city of Beaufort:
- All public meetings, except council meetings, will be canceled. The public is asked to watch Beaufort City Council work sessions and regular meetings via Facebook live. A work session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, beginning at 5 p.m.
- All parks in the city will be closed to public events and programming. They will be open for passive recreation, such as walking or jogging. Maintenance services will continue at the parks, with increased cleaning of restrooms.
- Municipal Court cases through March 26 have been canceled. The court office is open during business hours to collect fines and for scheduling.
- City staffing will be reduced to minimal levels. Non-essential staff will work from home when possible.
The public is urged to call Beaufort City Hall at 843-525-7070 before coming in for any service.
The following county locations will be closed starting Monday, March 16 through at least Tuesday, March 31:
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Department (Beaufort and Bluffton locations)
- Animal Shelter (no adoption or pet glancing/visiting)
- Assessor’s Office (all locations)
- Business License Department (all locations)
- Disabilities and Special Needs Department (all non-residential programming)
- Library branches and bookmobile services
- Parks and Recreation facilities and pools
- Records Management Department
- Register of Deeds’ public deed room
- FOIA services and public visitation at the Detention Center are suspended until further notice.
Officials said many county locations will remain open, but with limited staff who will conduct internal and external business telephonically and electronically as much as possible.
All Convenience Centers will remain open according to their normal operating schedules for now, the county said.
Emergency and public safety services remain available as normal.
Beaufort County Council plans to hold its currently scheduled meetings during the declaration of emergency.
Officials added: “But, in the interest of public health and due to the coronavirus outbreak, citizens are reminded that all County Council regular and committee meetings are broadcast on Comcast channel 2, Hargray channels 9 and 113, and Spectrum channel 1304, as well as live-streamed on our website via The County Channel.”
Public comments will be accepted in writing via email to the Clerk of Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Drawer 1228, Beaufort SC 29901.
Officials said other county-sponsored public meetings are subject to cancellation or postponement.
Meanwhile, residents are urged to limit interactions with county staff, who will be practicing social distancing, according to officials, and limit visits to county building “unless having urgent business matters that must be handled in person.”