March 22, 2020
Greetings Tybee Neighbors and Friends,
Thank you to every one working hard to keep our island safe and healthy. From our businesses closing early and adjusting operations, to the residents who are hunkered down at home, please know your sacrifices are not in vain.
The City of Tybee also has been working to address the coronavirus threat. We will continue to evaluate the situation and make adjustments to our response as needed.
So far we have closed the beaches and noticed a significant decrease in the number of people visiting the island. One option the City was considering was to limit access to the island. We had not made a decision to do this yet, but had made the necessary request through CEMA (Chatham Emergency Management Agency) to get the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) permission to implement a restricted access plan.
Nearly 40% of Tybee Island’s population is in the high risk category for the Coronavirus. We feel this is reason enough to take drastic action. Today County Commission Chair Al Scott issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency. The declaration of an emergency gives the county chair authority over the closure of roads within the county.
However, he has made it clear he will not support any actions restricting access to Tybee Island, and thus will refuse to submit to GDOT a request to restrict such access.
The executive order also restricts gatherings to ten people or less and requires bars and restaurants to arrange seating in their establishments to allow for proper distance between patrons. A copy of the executive order is available here for your information.
I assure you we will continue to keep the beaches closed and will examine all available options to protect our citizens’ health.
Mayor Shirley Sessions