SC state parks prepare for upcoming reopening

Coronavirus

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WTBW) – State parks in South Carolina are set reopen Friday.

“We expect a lot of people in,” Ann Wilson said. She’s a park ranger at Myrtle Beach State Park. “It’s been closed for a month and it’s going to be a beautiful day. The whole weekend is going to be beautiful.”

The parks will monitor capacities and keep them at a level where social distancing can happen.

They will be opened on a ‘limited basis,’ meaning certain group facilities such as picnic shelters and community buildings will remain closed for now, according to the South Carolina State Parks website.

“It’s exciting but we’re cautiously optimistic,” Wilson said. “It’s not going to be a return to normal. We are going to have social distancing guidelines in place.”

Wilson recommends that if it’s possible to do so, people should go at off-times or off-days to help the social distancing effort.

“And maybe if the beach is too busy, maybe walk around all the picnic areas if it’s not as busy,” she suggested.

The parks were closed March 28 as concerns grow over the coronavirus.

“We felt like at that point in time, visitation had really started to spike and we were having problems with people not following social distancing guidelines,” Director of South Carolina State Parks Paul McCormack said.

He added that the decision was made to reopen the parks as social distancing becomes more widely observed.

“We recognize the health benefits both mentally and physically of having space to get out relax and enjoy the outdoors,” he said. “We wanted to be able to provide that service to our citizens. and we felt like this was good timing to do it.”

State park staff recommend doing any transactions online if you plan on visiting a park.

You can do that, and learn more about the openings here.

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