The Myrtle Beach Police Department gathered business owners and community members to explain their safety plan for Memorial Day weekend.
The police department held a meeting on Tuesday morning at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot. Captain Joey Crosby explained they are planning to bring back pedestrian barricades on Ocean Boulevard, and limit traffic on Ocean Boulevard to the southbound lane. However, there will be less officers present in the city than last year.
According to Crosby, there were over 500 officers from various law enforcement agencies in Myrtle Beach for Memorial Day weekend. This year, he said there will be 427 officers. Along Ocean Boulevard, officers will be assigned to a four or five block area to patrol. Crosby did not explain the reason for the decrease.
Myrtle Beach police are moving forward with the 23.1 traffic loop for Memorial Day weekend, though a decision still has yet to be made in the NAACP's lawsuit against the loop.
"I've gotten caught in it, where I had to go a long way out of my way to get back home. It's not fun," said Kevin Andrews, owner of the Good Day Cafe.
Andrews tuned into the meeting via a Facebook live stream. He admitted he's not looking forward to the traffic loop coming back, and questioned whether the inconvenience is worth it.
"Does it really work? Is it the most intelligent way to go about it? Is it fair to the residents and the people that are coming to Myrtle Beach to have them go through an inefficient loop that takes them away from the heart of Myrtle Beach," he asked.
Capt. Crosby asserted the loop is necessary to maintain a safe environment, given the amount of people coming to Myrtle Beach during the holiday weekend.
"When you have a high concentration of people and we do not keep those individuals moving you have a chance for violence to occur, something to happen," said Crosby.
This year, the city will add several message boards along Kings Highway to explain the best way to access Ocean Boulevard at those locations.
"The changes that we've made are to provide you additional information. That way we can eliminate some of their anxieties and eliminate some of the confusion they have," Crosby said.
When asked whether Myrtle Beach police has a backup plan, should the judge rule in favor of the NAACP and against the traffic loop, Crosby said, "We have a variety of contingency plans for a variety of things. Not only for this event but for every event that we have."
The Myrtle Beach Police Department will hold another meeting about Memorial Day weekend for business owners at the Train Depot at 10 AM. They will also hold a meeting for community members at the Train Depot at 6 PM. For more information from the city on the traffic loop or Memorial Day weekend safety, click here.