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Hilton Head Island Coronavirus FAQs

We have received a number of questions from Hilton Head Island residents and guests about restaurants, parks, visiting the Island and Town operations. We took some time to respond to them providing the latest information we have. Check out the responses.

COVID-19 and Your Health

Is the Fire Department going into homes that belong to potential COVID-19 patients?
As part of screening procedures, questions are asked of the caller to determine if the patient is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19. On all medical calls, only the treating paramedic or first arriving supervisor makes initial contact with the patient to assess them, wearing the appropriate protective equipment based on the call screening process. Whenever possible, we are asking the patient to come or be brought to the front door. This is to limit contact to the Town's Fire Rescue responders and the Town's at risk population. If the patient is unable to come to the front door Fire Rescue will certainly enter the home to treat the patient.
What should I do if I am showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath?
First, call your personal doctor or healthcare provider for information/instructions. If you don't have a primary care physician there are multiple options for telehealth.
  • MUSC Health is providing free telehealth screening. Anyone experiencing symptoms can visit MUSC.care and use the promo code COVID19 and be screened without having to leave your home. You can also call 843-261-5940 with any questions.

  • Prisma Health is offering a free virtual visit at www.prismahealth.org/virtual-visit/. Use with promo code COVID19. You can also call 1-888-921-0348.

  • Beaufort Memorial is offering virtual visits to be screened by a provider who can refer them to a higher level of care, if needed. BMH Care Anywhere is available in the App Store and Google Play, and via www.bmhsc.org/services/immediate-care-options/video-visits/ (may have a fee).
Now that we are getting warm weather, is there any evidence that the Coronavirus can be spread by mosquito bites?
At this time information from the CDC indicates the following on how COVID-19 is spread.

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Wearing Face Coverings / Masks

The Hilton Head Island Town Council passed Emergency Ordinance 2020-14 on Monday, June 29, 2020, requiring individuals to wear face coverings in commercial business establishment.

ORDENANZA DE EMERGENCIA 2020 -14

Mask Up Campaign Resources

Are masks required on Hilton Head Island?
Yes. Our Town Council passed emergency ordinance 2020-14 on Monday, June 29, 2020, requiring individuals to wear a face covering. Any person entering a commercial business establishment within the Town's municipal limits must wear a face covering.
  • A face covering means a cloth or other type of masking device that covers the wearer's nose and mouth, and which remains in place without the use of the wearer's hands.
  • A commercial business establishment means any establishment located in a closed building or other indoor environment that primarily sells goods or services, or a combination of them, to the general public, including but not limited to grocery stores, restaurants, lobbies and public spaces in hotels, motels and timeshare complexes, pharmacies, bars, salons, retails stores, medical and dental offices.
When will the ordinance go into effect?
The ordinance goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30. 2020.
Does this ordinance only apply to people on Hilton Head Island?
All individuals living on or visiting Hilton Head Island are required to wear a mask in commercial establishments, unless they meet exceptions for underlying conditions.
Why should I wear a face covering?
The S C Department of Health and Environmental Control and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise the use of face coverings to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected because he or she does not have symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or respirators.
  • Cloth face coverings are not personal protective equipment.
What are rules regarding face coverings for children?
Please follow CDC guidelines for children. According to the CDC, cloth face coverings should not be placed on children younger than 2 years old or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
What if I have an underlying condition?
The ordinance allows the following exceptions for persons with underlying conditions:
  • any person who is unable to safely wear a Face Covering due to age,
  • an underlying health condition, or who is unable to don or remove the Face Covering without the assistance of others,
  • any person eating or consuming food and beverages;
  • and persons receiving medical care or treatment.
Can I wear a face shield?
Face shields, when worn correctly, are in compliance with our Ordinance. According to CDC, if face shields are used without a mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer's face and extend to below the chin.

For more information on face shields, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html.
Do gyms have to require people to wear a mask while working out?
Yes. Individuals within a gym are within an indoor commercial establishment and are therefore subject to the Ordinance.
If I am patronizing a local restaurant with outdoor seating, do I need to abide by the ordinance or does this constitute as being outside, so I do not need to wear a masks?
The Ordinance applies when inside a commercial business, therefore indoor restaurant patrons must wear masks. However, it is appropriate to wear a mask while waiting for food and drinks. It is appropriate to remove the mask while eating and replace it when finished.
Do I need to wear a mask on the beach or at a pool?
No. While our ordinance does not address wearing facial coverings on the beach, the CDC encourages the use of cloth face coverings among beach and pool visitors. Face coverings should be worn when feasible and are most essential at times when social distancing is difficult.

The CDC advises those wearing cloth face coverings to not wear them in the water, because they can be difficult to breathe through when they're wet. This means it is particularly important to maintain social distancing in the water.
Do I need to wear a mask on pathways or while participating in other outdoor activities?
While our ordinance does not address wearing facial coverings on pathways or for other outdoor activities, we do encourage you to following precautions from our state health department and the CDC. Those include wearing a face covering, staying six feet apart, washing your hands, covering your cough with a tissue and staying home if you are sick.
Do my employees need to wear a mask?
Yes. All commercial business establishments in the municipal limits of the Town shall require all employees to wear a face covering at all times that the employees are in any area where the general public is allowed, or when the employees must be in close proximity to one another.
Does the ordinance apply to churches, and, if I am a minister, do I need to wear a mask while preaching?
The ordinance applies to churches. Employees or staff at establishments are required to wear a face covering at all times that they are in any area where the general public is allowed, or when they must be in close proximity to one another. Speaking loudly or singing can also produce droplets for which a mask should be worn.
Do I need to have proof of my medical condition?

The Southeast ADA Center, a regional arm of the ADA National Network, has produced some helpful guidance on the subject of face mask regulations and individuals who may suffer from a disability that would make wearing the mask unsafe. A copy of that document can be found at https://www.adasoutheast.org/ada/publications/legal/ada-and-face-mask-policies.php

While no proof is needed in order to not be subject to the requirements of the Town's mask ordinance, it does not mean that a person with a medical condition can just enter and stroll about through an indoor commercial establishment as he or she may please without a mask on. Rather, the business will be required to comply with the mask regulations and should provide a reasonable accommodation to the person to the extent that a reasonable accommodation is possible. Examples of this include:
  • allowing a person to wear a scarf, loose face covering, or full face shield instead of a face mask;
  • allowing customers to order online with curbside pick-up or no contact delivery in a timely manner;
  • allowing customers to order by phone with curb-side pick-up or no contact delivery in a timely manner;
  • allowing a person to wait in a car for an appointment and enter the building when called or texted; or offering appointments by telephone or video calls.
Do I still have to maintain social distancing?
Social distancing of at least 6 feet must continue in addition to wearing a face covering and proper hand washing practices.
How will the ordinance be enforced?
The Beaufort County Sheriff's Department, Town code enforcement officers and other persons with lawful authority will enforce the ordinance.
Will I be penalized for not wearing a mask?
Not wearing a mask in compliance with the ordinance is a misdemeanor and may result in an arrest and fine. Businesses not in compliance may have their business license suspended or revoked.
What do I do if I see individuals not wearing masks or face coverings in at businesses?
If you encounter someone not wearing a face covering, we recommend you distance yourself at least six feet. While the Town's ordinance has provisions for violators, our focus is on education in order to gain our community's compliance.
If I suspect that I have symptoms, can I still wear my masks and enter commercial business establishments?
SCDHEC advises that you stay home if you are sick. If you need to be tested for the virus, the following local providers offer testing:
  • Main Street Medical, 93 N Main St., Hilton Head Island, SC
    843-681-3777
    www.hiltonheadurgentcare.org

  • Hilton Head Hospital, 25 Hospital Center Blvd., Hilton Head Island, SC
    843-681-6122
    www.hiltonheadregional.com/our-response-to-covid-19

  • Sea Pines Circle Immediate Care 2 Greenwood Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
    843-341-2700
    www.seapinescircleimmediatecare.com/covid-19/

  • You may also visit the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control's website for information of COVID-19 screening and testing sites.
    www.scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-screening-testing-sites
Where can I buy face coverings locally?
Where can I buy face coverings locally? Here is a list of businesses where you can buy face masks. This is not a comprehensive list as there may be other businesses we are unaware of that are selling face coverings.
  • Burke's Pharmacy
  • Stephen's Pharmacy
  • Target (in Bluffton)
  • Walgreens
  • Staples
  • ArtWare
How do I care for my cloth mask?
Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. The CDC provides more guidance on washing cloth face coverings: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Is there a proper way to put on and take off the mask?
Use the following steps when putting on your face covering:
  • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  • Make sure you can breathe easily

Use the following steps to remove your face covering:
  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties
  • Fold outside corners together
  • Place covering in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash cloth face coverings)
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing

Town Beach Access and Parks

Lo que necesita saber ahora sobre el acceso a nuestras playas y parques pdf icon

Which public beach access points and parks are open?
Access to and services at all Town public beach and recreational parks has been fully restored. All bathrooms, playgrounds and picnic shelters are open. Learn more...

  • Islanders Beach Park at 94 Folly Field Road will only be accessible to beach parking pass holders.
    • If you do not have a beach parking pass, please do not visit this beach location.
    • Security will be on site at Islanders Beach Park to close the parking lot once it reaches capacity and will only reopen when it is safe to do so.

  • Burkes Beach visitors must park at the Chaplin Community Park, 11 Cast Net Drive. Metered spaces and on-street parking along Burkes Beach Road will be terminated until further notice. Free overflow parking will be available at Cast Net Court for Burkes Beach visitors.

Vehicles that are illegally parked in unmarked spaces or along road rights of way will be towed.

View our Open Beach Parks & Overflow Parking Areas Map pdf icon
How many parking spaces are available?
There are a limited number of parking spaces at our beach parks and recreational parks. Please be courteous and safe, and avoid gathering in large crowds at these locations.

Free overflow parking will be available at Cast Net Court for Burkes Beach visitors and at the USCB Hospitality Campus, 1 Sand Shark Drive, for Coligny Beach Park visitors. From 10 am - 3 pm Satruday and Sunday, Palmetto Breeze will shuttle beach visitors back and forth for free from the campus to Coligny Beach Park.

  • Islanders Beach Park at 94 Folly Field Road will only be accessible to beach parking pass holders.
    • If you do not have a beach parking pass, please do not visit this beach location.
    • Security will be on site at Islanders Beach Park to close the parking lot once it reaches capacity and will only reopen when it is safe to do so.

  • Burkes Beach visitors must park at the Chaplin Community Park, 11 Cast Net Drive. Metered spaces and on-street parking along Burkes Beach Road will be terminated until further notice.

Vehicles that are illegally parked in unmarked spaces or along road rights of way will be towed.

View our Open Beach Parks & Overflow Parking Areas Map pdf icon
Can I ride my bicycle or walk to the beach?
Yes. You may ride your bicycle or walk to any of our beach parks.
Are restrooms at the beach parks going to be open?
Yes
Under what circumstances will vehicles be towed?
Vehicles that are parked illegally on the right of ways of public roads, on Town-owned property clearly marked with no parking signs and in designated spaces without a beach pass decal will be towed.
How will beach parks be monitored and how will laws and restrictions be enforced?
Beaufort County Sheriff's Office Deputies, code enforcement officers and contracted security guards for the Town of Hilton Head Island, and Shore Beach Services staff will monitor and patrol beaches, educate beach visitors on laws and restrictions, and issue citations if deemed necessary.
How can I get a beach parking pass?
You may obtain an application for a beach parking pass from our website. Upon approval, the beach pass will be mailed to you as staffing and operational priorities permit us to do so.

To apply for a beach pass:

  1. Complete the Beach Pass Application.
  2. Attach copies of the required documentation.
  3. Include a check or money order for $30 per vehicle payable to the Town of Hilton Head Island.
  4. Mail your completed application to:
      Town of Hilton Head Island
      Attn: Beach Pass
      12A Gateway Circle
      Hilton Head Island, SC, 29926
I live in Bluffton or Beaufort County or will be visiting Hilton Head Island. How can I get a beach pass?
To qualify to purchase a beach pass, you must live or own property within the incorporated limits of the Town.
Will I be in violation of the Governor's order if there are more than three of us at the beach together?
It's okay for you and your family to be out together. However, if groups of three or more people gather and pose a health threat to others, they may be asked to disperse per Executive Order No. 2020-13 issued by SC Governor Henry McMaster.
Do I have to practice social distancing on the beach?
Yes. While on the beach you should practice social distancing to prevent you spreading the virus to others and to protect yourself from being susceptible to the virus.
Do I have to wear a face covering on the beach?
No. While our ordinance does not address wearing facial coverings on the beach, the CDC encourages the use of cloth face coverings among beach and pool visitors. Face coverings should be worn when feasible and are most essential at times when social distancing is difficult.

The CDC advises those wearing cloth face coverings to not wear them in the water, because they can be difficult to breathe through when they're wet. This means it is particularly important to maintain social distancing in the water.
What is the CDC's guidance for parks and recreation?
For your safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following guidance for parks and recreation:
Are all community pools closed?
Governor McMaster announced that public or commercial pools will be able to open in a limited capacity Monday, May 18.

Visitors and Short-Term Rentals

I have tried to cancel my reservations, but I am unable to get a refund. What can I do?

Questions about rental refunds should be directed to your rental company or the SC Department of Consumer Affairs at 800-922-1594. You may also file a complaint with Consumer Affairs.

For more information on filing a complaint visit https://consumer.sc.gov/consumer-resources/consumer-complaints.

What to know when Cancelling Your Reservations from the SC Department of Consumer Affairs pdf icon
Is there a limit on gatherings?
Governor McMaster issued an order giving local law enforcement the authority to prohibit or disperse any gatherings of three or more persons. This order applies to the beach also.

Transportation

Are we still able to fly within the state? Or will that be restricted?
As of right now, there are no restrictions on travel. However, we advise you to contact airlines regarding flight schedules and restrictions.
Is the Cross Island Parkway toll booth open?
Cross Island Parkway Toll Collections Resume on Friday, JUne 19, 2020.
Why is the Airport open?
The Town does not have the authority to close the airport. That decision has to be made by the Fedaral Aviation Administration (FAA).
Why can't we close the bridge?
In South Carolina only the Governor can authorize the closing of bridges. The Town does not the authority to do to close or restrict access to the bridges.
Is the Breeze Trolley Service running?
The Breeze Trolley Service on Hilton Head Island, which was scheduled to begin service on April 1, has been postponed temporarily.

Conducting Business with the Town

Is Town Hall open?
Town Offices Scheduled to Reopen Monday, June 15 Public Access Will Be Limited.

The public is encouraged to conduct business with the Town by phone, e-mail or online, when possible. Members of the public that need assistance in person will be allowed to enter Town office buildings by appointment only. They should call ahead to schedule their visit. Learn more...
View our Staff Directory

The classroom at Fire Rescue headquarters at 40 Summit Drive, and the fire stations and conference rooms remain closed to the public.
How will Town Council conduct meetings if Town Hall is closed?
Town Council will host virtual meetings using video and teleconferencing. Our meetings will be live-streamed on our website and through Facebook Live.
All Town Council meeting agendas can be found at https://hiltonheadislandsc.gov/council/tcagendas.cfm
Are my business license renewal and tax payment due now?
Deadlines have been extended for local taxes:
  • Penalties will be waived for 1st quarter 2020 Hospitality Tax payments received no later than June 20, 2020.
  • Penalties will be waived for 1st quarter 2020 Accommodations Tax and Beach Preservation Fees received no later than June 20, 2020.
  • Penalties will be waived for the Town of Hilton Head Island 2020 business license renewal payments received no later than June 20, 2020.
*Please note, June 20th falls on a Saturday. Penalties will be waived through Monday, June 22, 2020.

Restriction FAQs

Is there a limit on gatherings?
Governor McMaster issued an order giving local law enforcement the authority to prohibit or disperse any gatherings of three or more persons. This order applies to the beach also.

Local law enforcement officers are monitoring our beaches and educating the public on regulations for social distancing.
How do I know if my business is considered "Non-essential" for the Governor's order to close non-essential businesses?
"Non-essential" businesses, venues, facilities, services, and activities will be closed to non-employees and will not be open for access or use by the public or shall not take place. This includes businesses where access is limited and based on membership.
View the list of Non-Essential Businesses as defined by the Governor

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) FAQsexternal link icon

World Health Organization (WHO) FAQsexternal link icon