HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – Hilton Head Island’s mayor signed a state of emergency order Monday due to COVID-19.

Amid rising cases and the spread of the contagious delta variant, the order will allow the town to implement safety measures.

It went into effect immediately.

Masks will now be required in town buildings, including the Stephen G. Riley Municipal Complex, Fire and Rescue Headquarters, Facilities Management Office and Information Technology Office.

“Given the steady rise we are seeing in community with COVID-19 cases and transmissions, this is the right step to protect our public and Town employees,” stated Mayor John McCann. “Until more people become vaccinated to protect themselves and others, we will probably be wearing masks for a little while longer. It is my hope that those in our community who are not vaccinated will consider getting a vaccine and help our community move past this pandemic.”

Hilton Head Island Town Council will now be using a hybrid approach for meetings. Council will meet in person but members unable to attend can join virtually.

Meetings will be streamed live on the town’s Facebook page where members of the public can tune in.

At the next meeting on Tuesday at 4 p.m., council members are expected to further discuss the state of emergency.

Hilton Head’s first COVID emergency order was issued on March 13, 2020. Other mandates have been implemented over the course of the pandemic.

Most recently, in May of this year, Hilton Head ended its mask mandate in accordance with the governor’s order.