April 03, 2020
A Message from Mayor Weaver
The single biggest takeaway from this week is that “normal” doesn’t look like it’s going to return anytime soon. This week saw actions at the federal, state and local level, and a major reduction of the Resort’s operations, that make it more evident that we should not expect a return to normal, whatever that is, until early summer at best. There are a number of predictive models being shared, and while I cannot attest to the validity of any particular one, all agree that the course of this event in South Carolina is lagging behind many other states. We won’t likely see the peak or a leveling off of new COVID-19 cases before the end of the month, if then. Once the threat of the virus passes, recovery from the economic damage, even in our small community, will take considerable time.
The second takeaway for me this week is we may be living with a false sense that Kiawah is safer than other places and relatively virus-free. The statistics we see reported tell us little about whether the virus is active in our community. DHEC does not report Kiawah-specific information. And if they did, COVID-19 reporting is based on the patient’s official home, which for most of the property owners and families on the island today, is somewhere other than Kiawah. Consequently, while we don’t yet see a scary case tally for Kiawah, that doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t active in our community. This false security could be dangerous if it results in any of us becoming complacent about social distancing and taking personal precautions, or any business becoming complacent about the safety measures it has implemented while serving the community.
The third and last takeaway for me this week is the island is busy, and it is likely to stay that way. What we like the most about Kiawah – that it is small and away from everything – may become our biggest challenge. Social distancing is going to take some work. There will be people who don’t act responsibly. Some people are going to act less concerned and less careful than you would like, and it’s going to bother you. Others are going to be more anxious than you, and your actions are just as likely to bother them. We are all experiencing this differently and judging the actions of the government, the community association, the businesses in our community, and our neighbors through our own lens and against our own expectations.
I don’t know what next week will bring in the way of new actions and orders that affect how we deal with the COVID-19 crisis. As a community, we share the same desire to keep ourselves and our families safe and healthy. Decisions made in Columbia are important, but we do not need to wait on an order by the Governor to take the right and necessary actions like limiting our personal activity and social interaction, taking fewer trips to the grocery store or off-island or asking family or guests from high-risk locations to reconsider coming to the island or ensure they practice proper safeguards if they do. The most effective steps we can take individually to help ourselves and our neighbors – social distancing and staying home as much as possible – haven’t changed.