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Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Joining two other local governments, the town of Surfside Beach on Saturday declared a state of emergency amid growing concerns over the coronavirus.

Horry County Government and the city of Conway issued similar proclamations earlier in the day.

“[The declaration] lets people be on notice we are taking precautions, and we are ready if this escalates,” Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Hellyer said.

There were 19 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, which is the disease caused by a member of the coronavirus family, as of Saturday afternoon, according to the state Department of Environmental Health and Control (DHEC). 

So far, no cases have been reported in Horry County.

“This proclamation has been made out of the abundance of caution to allow the Town to respond quickly as the situation evolves, to mobilize resources as necessary to better monitor the confirmed cases of the virus, to strengthen our ability to respond and assist, and proactively implement measures to protect our residents and visitors,” Surfside Beach’s proclamation states.

The mayor’s declaration allows the emergency operations plan section of the town’s comprehensive emergency management plan to be prepared for activation.

The town administrator will take steps to mobilize necessary safety responses. 

If the administrator determines it is necessary to amend the town budget to identify sources of money for emergency expenditures, the town council can vote on a resolution approving an amendment.

The declaration will be in effect for 60 days, unless town leaders decide to revoke it sooner.

Town meetings scheduled for the coming week have been postponed.

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