Myrtle Beach braces for busy Labor Day weekend: traffic changes, 200 additional officers

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Officials are bracing for a large crowd this Labor Day weekend as visitors flock to the beach for their last bit of summer fun.

City leaders and law enforcement say, they are not sure how large the crowds will be, but they are prepared and anticipate there will be an influx of travelers because of the Southern 500, school starting this week, typical Labor Day travel and the canceled Atlantic Beach BikeFest.

“Even though it was canceled, we still don’t know how many people will still come to the area,” Myrtle Beach Mayor, Brenda Bethune said.

After a summer that kicked off with a rowdy weekend of large crowds, viral videos of a packed Ocean Boulevard and a gang shooting, city officials are taking no chances. Traffic patterns will change, more police will be on the streets, golf carts and mopeds will be limited, beach patrol will increase, and a curfew will be initiated if needed.

City council declared Labor Day weekend an “extraordinary event.” That declaration gives Myrtle Beach police more options like restricting traffic, asking for outside help and temporarily closing businesses thought to be a risk to public safety.

More than 200 law enforcement officers will be in town this weekend from the Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia Police Department and the Lexington Police Department.

“I don’t have any hesitations about safety,” Bethune said. “Our police department is more than prepared for this weekend.”

The barricades will help create a one-way traffic pattern on Ocean Boulevard starting at 6 a.m. Friday until Monday morning. Traffic will be diverted to southbound only from 29th Ave. N. To S. Kings Highway. The northbound lane will be reserved for emergency vehicles. Here’s an interactive map for details of the traffic pattern.

Golf carts will be prohibited south of 29th Avenue on Ocean Boulevard. Mopeds are prohibited from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until the traffic control devices on Ocean Boulevard are removed on Monday,

These streets will be closed for emergency traffic only:

  • 16th Avenue North
  • 8th Avenue North
  • 6th Avenue South
  • 17th Avenue South

Message boards will be posted throughout Ocean Blvd to help advise drivers on what roads are open and closed.

City of Myrtle Beach Police Administrative Captain Joey Crosby said they’ll have people assisting with their information phone lines. Those with questions about the traffic restrictions can call 843-918-INFO.

Law enforcement officers from multiple divisions will provide the Myrtle Beach Police Department with more manpower on the streets. They will help with everything from enforcing golf cart rules to foot patrol to implementing traffic plans.

Bethune says after a tough summer travel season, this weekend is important for the business community.

“Our businesses need it,” she said. “Hospitality is our number one industry. We’ve already been hurt very badly because of COVID, so this is a great opportunity for that last shot in the arm for our business community.”

A mask mandate is still in effect for the City of Myrtle Beach. It is set to expire shortly after the holiday weekend if Council does not extend it.

The City of Myrtle Beach will close offices and facilities on Monday in observation of Labor Day.

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