Mayor’s Remarks

October 6, 2020

This is Dr. Joe Pat Hatem, Mayor of the City of Southport. I would like to give you an update on several topics. The City of Southport has just released its first newsletter. Go to and click on newsletter. There, you will find a wealth of information.  I would also like to mention that is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  There will be a proclamation at the Board of Aldermen meeting. Until then, wear your pink. I am wearing my pink ribbon bow tie and my pink Chuck Taylor Converse.  It is Fire Prevention Week, the theme “Serving up Safety in the Kitchen.”  Make sure you watch the videos that the emergency service team has put together.

Now, concerning the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In the United States, 7,418, 836 cases, including the President of the United States, who as you know has been hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The President has risk factors and due to these factors, he has not had mild disease. He, like the majority of Southport, is in an at risk population. We wish him and all those who have become ill with the coronavirus, a rapid and full recovery.

In North Carolina, cases are not decreasing, with the first three days of October—2,277, 1,117, and on October 3rd, 2,202 cases. In the U.S., there are 40,000 new cases diagnosed each day. So again, the virus is not going away.  In Brunswick County, 1, 725 cases with the month of September showing an increase rise in cases since the end of August.   Our State is now in Phase 3 of easing restrictions as announced by Governor Cooper with Executive Order No. 169 which took effect October 2 and will be in effect through October 23. What does Phase 3 mean for Southport?  Bars with outdoor seating may reopen subject to reduced capacity limits. Indoor bars remain closed. So, outdoor bars such as American Fish, will be back in business. Museums, aquariums remain open. Movie theaters are now open, again subject to reduced capacity limits. Meeting spaces in hotels, conference centers, meeting halls, and reception venues may host receptions, meetings and other functions, subject to reduced capacity limits and other restrictions.  The order does not change mass gatherings limits from 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. Southport City facilities, such as the Community Building, will remain closed except for city and governmental meetings until the end of the year. This is in fairness and is an equity issue to those who have had to cancel their plans in using our facility. There are also health consequences to consider as we approach the convergence of COVID -19 and the beginning of the Influenza Season. The order says “may open” and we have to form a policy as to how to enforce “other restrictions”.  Regardless, we will make preparations to be open beginning January 1, 2021.

The best approach to COVID -19 continues to be avoid getting sick from the virus.  This involves public health mitigation measures including universal wearing of facial coverings, avoid crowds, physical distancing, outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities, and wash your hands. Again, this is a highly transmissible virus, going from person to person, in a very efficient way. We must rely on scientific research and evidence, and public health initiatives in our decisions and in how we conduct our lives. We continue to need identification of cases, isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing. And please do not ignore that tracing phone call. So wear your mask, wait and stay at least six feet apart, wash your hands and be assured that if you do so, you will be one of the heroes that have helped to save lives.

Stay Well, Stay Safe, and Stay Southport Strong