UPDATE 4/27/20 7:15 p.m. — Since this story aired, the restaurant has closed the outside dining, according to Pat Dowling, spokesperson for North Myrtle Beach.
“Our understanding is that a SLED agent visited the owner today, gave them a written warning, and judging from a video the owner posted on social media, Buoys on the Boulevard will now remain open for takeout business only going forward,” Dowling said.
“Yes, they came out and gave me a warning,” owner Weldon Boyd said. “The tables were the issue. So now we are encouraging our customers to come tailgate. Bring their own chairs.”
ORIGINAL STORY: NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina restaurants are limited to curbside pickup or delivery per Governor Henry McMaster’s order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
One owner of a partially reopened North Myrtle Beach restaurant says he’s going to do what’s best for his small business and customers.
Folks were sitting at outside tables at Buoys on the Boulevard this weekend after the restaurant’s owner reopened their outside seating.
They did get support from customers, but the police did stop by to give a verbal warning.
“Glad to see everything opening up. It’s been a hard, probably, hardship on a lot of people,” said Carole Everett.
Carole Everett and her husband stopped by Monday to pick up some pimento cheese and chicken salad from Buoys on the Boulevard. They’re two customers happy that some things are reopening.
“As long as the wind stays like this, I think it’s a good thing,” said Everett.
That includes the restaurant’s outdoor seating that owner Weldon Boyd opened this weekend, posting that it’s each small business’ freedom to make those decisions.
“If they can be on the beach 100 yards from here, there’s a thousand people sitting on that beach, and they are sitting closer together than we’re sitting them out here,” said Boyd.
They’re keeping the tables apart and cleaning each one before and after customers come by.
“In my mind, it’s crazy that people can go to Walmart and Lowe’s and there can be 80 people inside of Walmart touching the same product over and over again, but they can’t come sit outside of a restaurant spaced apart,” said Boyd. “It makes no sense.”
North Myrtle Beach Police did give a verbal warning this weekend, and City Spokesperson Pat Dowling says staying open could mean citations or a discussion with the state’s law enforcement division on punishment if it violates the governor’s order.
“I expect probably a fine today and tomorrow probably go to jail, but it is what it is,” Boyd said. “Without our economy, what quality of life does any of us have?”
Boyd says he will continue to keep the outside patio open, keeping the tables 12 to 18 feet apart.