In late March/early April of last year, as the COVID virus was spreading across the country and the state, Michael Vance as Mayor brought to the attention of Town Council that the State Department of Transportation was intending to allow a Charleston contractor to come to Durbin for the bridge demolition.
It was odd as that bridge has been closed for five (?) years. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the State was just trying to give work to its contractors in “out of the way places.” What that meant was places where not a lot of people would see them working. Also, it was discovered that the contractor would bring employees from the Charleston area and subcontractors from three other states into Durbin in the middle of the pandemic.
The Mayor and Town Council felt it was in the best interests of the residents of the Town to stop all of these people coming into Durbin and bringing COVID with them. COVID spread through this country by just such means – people traveling from other states and other parts of states and infecting people wherever they went. In order to protect the residents of Durbin, the Town Government (the Mayor and Town Council) voted to close the Town, as best they could from outsiders. The Town was able to shut down the bridge project and stop all of those people from coming in from distant places.
The Town Government did believe that the campground in the middle of Town was the same. Yes, there was a dispute between the state regulations and the local regulation. But, the sole purpose of the regulation was to protect the health, safety and welfare of one of the oldest (per capita) communities, in one of the oldest (per capita) counties in one of the oldest (per capita) states in the Union from a disease that most viciously attacked older people.
Public service is never easy. But it is easy for people to second guess decisions much later. At least characterize the motivation of Durbin Town Government correctly – it was not and is not anti-business.
Shereen Bailey on behalf of
Durbin Town Government