Message from Mayor Labriola
As you know, in March Town Council passed Ordinance 2021-03, which established permanent emergency restrictions that were to remain in place until December 31, 2021, or until the Governor allowed the current State of Emergency to expire, whichever date came first.

While we are not ready to return to "normal," we cannot ignore the successful implementation of the vaccine and its widespread availability. Over the past two weeks, staff and Council spent time reviewing the various changes that have unfolded in COVID-19 related restrictions on the state and local level. In April, Town Council held a special workshop where we discussed our current Ordinance and specifically reviewed components regarding face coverings, social distancing, essential business, restaurants, occupancy, and large gatherings.

In our discussions, there was a great deal of consensus regarding the need to continue to require face coverings and social distancing. However, we decided the Ordinance needed to be simplified and aligned with changes that have taken place since its adoption. Therefore, we asked staff to prepare a simplified version to be considered at our May 4 meeting. Ultimately, Town Council decided the best course of action is to pivot away from a permanent ordinance back to an emergency ordinance intended to be for a temporary time frame.

The process by which ordinances are implemented is different depending on the type of ordinance. Simply put, emergency ordinances are intended to be temporary (precisely 61 days) and can be passed with one reading and extended if necessary. Permanent ordinances require two readings to implement and two readings to rescind.

Below is a summary of the Ordinance changes that took place at the May meeting:

  • We passed the first reading of Ordinance 2021-07, which will rescind the existing permanent Ordinance. Until then, the current Ordinance remains in effect but will expire June 1.
  • We passed Emergency Ordinance 2021-08, a simplified version that still requires face coverings, social distancing, and restaurant protocols. This Ordinance will go into effect on June 1 and remain in effect until July 4, 2021. Town Council may extend this Ordinance at any time, and we will continue to evaluate what necessary precautions need to be taken to protect the public during this unprecedented time.

Please take time to review the summary provided below for the details of the ordinance changes and other actions taken at the May meeting.


John Labriola
Updates from Town Council
The following is a summary of announcements from the May 4 Town Council meeting. Watch the meeting here.

Updates on Current COVID-19 Related Ordinance in Effect Until June 1
Town Council approved the first reading of Ordinance 2021-07 that will rescind Permanent Ordinance 2021-03 regarding face coverings, restrictions on restaurants, establishments, businesses, and facilities.

Until June 1, the following restrictions are currently in effect:

Face Coverings are required for all persons, including employees, entering or waiting to enter any restaurant (including persons waiting to pick up a carryout order), business, club, or association facility at all times.
  • Exceptions, such as those for health, age, and activity, are listed in the Ordinance
  • Businesses and restaurants are responsible for enforcing this Emergency Ordinance with regard only to their employees and conspicuously posting the information for guests and employees

Restaurants must comply with the following mandatory restrictions:
  • Employees and patrons must wear masks or face coverings
  • Diners must be seated six feet away from diners at other tables
  • Seat no more than eight customers per table unless from the same family
  • Not allow standing or congregating in the bar area

Essential Businesses must:
  • Limit the number of customers not to exceed five customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space or twenty percent (20%) of the occupancy limit as determined by the fire marshal, whichever is less
  • Not allow patrons to congregate within six feet of one another, exclusive of family units
  • Comply with sanitation guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health officials

(Examples of essential businesses: grocery & convenience stores, banks, and pharmacies)  

The current Ordinance 2021-03 remains in effect until June 1, when it is replaced with the new Emergency Ordinance referenced below.

New COVID-19 Related Emergency Ordinance Effective June 1
Town Council approved and adopted Ordinance 2021-08 - an Emergency Ordinance regarding face coverings and restrictions on restaurants that shall become effective June 1 through July 4, 2021. Council may rescind or extend the Emergency Ordinance timeline in sixty-one-day increments. The Ordinance in its entirety is available here. A summary is provided below.

Effective June 1, the new Emergency Ordinance 2021-08 lifts previous restrictions regarding occupancy limits on businesses and the requirement for face coverings when waiting outside to enter any restaurant or business; however, the following restrictions will remain in effect:

Face Coverings/Masks
All persons in any indoor public place are required to wear a mask or appropriate face covering. Exceptions, such as those for health, age, and activity, are listed in the Ordinance here.

Restaurants must comply with the following mandatory restrictions in addition to the above mask requirement:
  • Diners must be seated six feet away from diners at other tables;
  • Seat no more than eight customers per table unless from the same family; and
  • Not allow standing or congregating in the bar area

Violators of any other provision in this Ordinance will be subject to a civil fine of up to $100 plus required statutory assessments. All net penalties (not including assessments or other payments directed elsewhere under State law) paid to the Town for violations of this Ordinance will be earmarked and donated to a nonprofit or charitable organization to be chosen at a later date.

COVID-19 Employee Policy
Town Council passed Resolution 2021-01 authorizing the adoption and implementation of an updated COVID-19 Employee Policy addressing employee leave due to COVID-19 related issues and additional workplace guidelines. View the policy here.
State Accommodation Tax Funding
Town Council approved the FY 2021/2022 State ATAX Funding Recommendations from the SATAX committee. The recipients, the project, and funding amounts are listed below:
  • Freshfields Village - Events Promotion $30,000
  • Freshfields Village - Marketing & Advertising Promoting Tourism $58,000
  • Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Public Access Events $435,000
  • Andell Inn - Wedding Destination Marketing & Advertising $47,764
  • Town of Kiawah - Beach Patrol $100,000
  • Town of Kiawah - Charleston County Sheriff Deputies $423,000

The total SATAX funding available was $ 1,530,000. This year's applications amounted to $1,093,764, leaving a remaining balance of $436,236. The remaining funds will be considered and allocated at a later time by the SATAX committee.

SATAX funds are sourced from a tax tourists pay from the hotel and short-term rental charges for accommodations when staying in the Town of Kiawah Island. The State mandates that revenues from SATAX are restricted funds and must be spent on tourism-related expenditures within the district where they were collected (except for the first $25K plus 5% of the remaining total revenues, which are allocated to the Town's general fund and not restricted).
More information on restricted and unrestricted funds is available in our Budget a Glance here.

Town Budget
Town Council approved the first reading of Ordinance 2021-06 to adopt the FY 2021-2022 Budget (7/1/21-6/30/22). The budget adoption process will be complete following a public hearing on May 24, 2021, and the second reading on June 1, 2021. View the budget here. For more information on the Town's budget, revenues and expenditures, check out our 2020-2021 Budget at a Glance.
Give Our Shorebirds Space
Many of our shorebirds are fast approaching check-out and we need your help to make their stay on Kiawah a five-star experience!

Please do not disturb the birds on the beach, many of them will soon embark on an incredibly long journey and need as much rest as possible. If birds react (calling, standing up, running, or flying) step back immediately. 

A good rule is to stay at least 50 yards away, or half the length of a football field. Keep pets far away on a leash, and respect the posted signs.
(843) 768-9166
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