Town of Hilton Head passes resolution for masks in all public areas

Heading to Hilton Head Island this weekend? Don’t forget your face mask.

Town of Hilton Head passes resolution for masks in all public areas

HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WTOC) - Heading to Hilton Head Island this weekend? Don’t forget your face mask.

A sign as you head onto Hilton Head Island asks that you social distance and wear a mask, but on Tuesday night, the town council passed a resolution that urges anyone out in public to wear a mask or face covering. The catch? It can’t be enforced. “Under any circumstances, if you are out in public, you should be wearing a mask," said Assistant Town Manager Josh Gruber. Gruber said that yes, that even includes the beaches, but a resolution isn’t really enforceable.

“Resolutions by their nature are kind of a public policy statement from the town," Gruber explained. That makes the resolution more of a suggestion than a law. Fish restaurant and bar at Coligny Plaza is requiring their employees to wear a mask, and for one of the restaurant’s partners, his stance on the resolution is pretty simple.

“Masks are a personal choice, but if we can go a step further and be safe for our guests, I think that’s the right thing to do," Lee Lucier, part-owner of Fish said on Thursday. "Again, it’s a free country, and you can do what you want, but if it doesn’t hurt to do it, why not do it?”

Like most other restaurants, Fish added some extra health and safety precautions. Inflatable dolphins and other sea creatures sit at the bar to keep customers six-feet apart. There weren’t many that were six-feet apart out on Coligny Beach Saturday for Memorial Day Weekend. A were few sporting masks, but for the most part, beach-goers, even the local ones, didn’t even know about the new town guideline.

“Even a restaurant? It’s very difficult. How are you going to eat with a mask?” Steve Shapiro, a Bluffton resident said.

The CDC recommends wearing a mask or face covering in public settings where “social distancing is difficult to maintain, and especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” While the town can’t really enforce social distancing or masks, they can enforce parking.

They hired contracted security for several beach access points including Coligny’s parking lot. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is on beach and traffic patrol for the weekend. Towing will be enforced for illegal parking, and extra Code Enforcement Officers will be out and about as well.

Gruber said all the beaches are fully open to the public as they would normally be, and for now, the plan is to keep them that way.

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