Grand Strand hotel closures impact those with nowhere else to go

Grand Strand

UPDATED: The city issued some amendments to the order Friday evening, including one in which people who had valid hotel reservations prior to the order and who would otherwise be homeless are exempt.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Cities across the Grand Strand have ordered hotels to shut down and visitors to check out to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but that has left some locals with nowhere to live.

Brandi Barnett has begun to call the Myrtle Beach hotel she has been staying in home. She and her three children have been living at hotels until she can get back on her feet.

“My boyfriend passed away 16 months ago, and I haven’t been able to afford a place since,” Barnett said.

After several municipalities across the Grand Strand issued temporary orders on hotels to stop booking new reservations, to not extend current reservations and to make visitors leave by Sunday, Barnett has been struggling to find a new place to live.

“(I’m) scared. Making sure my children have a roof over their head, and unfortunately right now I haven’t been the one to be able to provide that,” Barnett said.

While the orders have exceptions for those who have been staying in a room since March 1, those don’t apply to Barnett.

City of Myrtle Beach officials say the order was never meant to kick out people who live in hotels long-term. While all the local homeless shelters are currently full, city officials say they are working with New Directions homeless shelters to hopefully find a solution.

Until then, Barnett is running out of options.

“Of course we want to quarantine, we want to stay away from everybody, but it’s been in a hotel, and that’s been our solace. If the hotel is closing, we have nowhere to go, we have no solace, we have nowhere to quarantine ourselves, and it’s a very scary place to be in.”

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