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Beaufort County Sheriff's Office
Friday March 20th, 2020 :: 11:10 a.m. EDT


Please comply with Governor's order prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more people, especially on Hilton Head's beaches.

Prohibition of gatherings of 50 or more people

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, there were numerous reports of large gatherings of young adults on Hilton Head Island's beaches. In addition, there were reports of illegal consumption of alcohol on the beaches. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office would like to take this opportunity to remind Beaufort County residents and guests that Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order that went into effect March 18, 2020, which prohibits the gathering of 50 or more people in public places, including beaches. The Governor’s executive order will remain in effect through March 31, 2020. The Governor's executive order is attached to this advisory.
Though we strongly encourage outdoor activities during these stressful times, we urge Beaufort County residents and guests to practice social distancing in order to limit potential exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19), and to follow the recommendations to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people, and, ideally, fewer than that.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has increased its presence on the beaches of Hilton Head Island and beaches throughout Beaufort County. Deputies will engage and educate those congregating in large groups on the prohibited activities detailed in the Governor’s executive order, and direct them to disperse.
If necessary, deputies will issue citations or make arrests for violations of South Carolina laws, which include open container (alcohol) violations and the now in effect law “illegal acts under state of emergency.” Details on “illegal acts under state of emergency” are attached to this advisory.

Please share this information to ensure others are aware of this issue, as continued non-compliance the Governor’s executive order limiting crowd size could result in the closing of Hilton Head Island’s beaches, as well as other beaches in Beaufort County.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office cares about your health and safety, and thanks you for continuing to remain calm and courteous with one another through these concerning times. 

Beaufort County Sheriff's Office
2001 Duke St
Beaufort, SC 29902

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 843-255-3200