Many head to Grand Strand beaches as some places grapple with when to open

Grand Strand

GARDEN CITY, SC (WBTW) – On an 80 degree Monday, many beachgoers hit Garden City’s shoreline to enjoy the sun.

“We listened to some music… and just good for the mind, body and soul,” Lori Freer said leaving the Holly Avenue access point. “When it was denied access to it, it makes you want to be here that much more I think and just really appreciate being able to be here.”

Freer wasn’t alone. Ron Gagliardi of Myrtle Beach agreed it felt good to be back by the ocean.

“We haven’t had it for a while understandably so, but it’s beautiful,” he said. “Once in a while you’ll see a few people getting together. The police patrol will come by.”

Over the weekend, Horry County police says it gave over 100 verbal warnings to beachgoers related to COVID-19. The department gave 23 verbal warnings Saturday and 93 Sunday, according to department spokesperson Mikayla Moskov.

“Generally the warnings come when people don’t appear to be social distancing or when they’re apparently gathering in groups,” Moskov explained. “Most instances when we went up people said, ‘Oh okay. Yeah we’ll definitely spread out,’ or they didn’t realize social distancing was still something they needed to adopt.

The department gave no official citations related to COVID-19 this weekend. Moskov emphasized the department’s approach of educating the public.

“A pandemic is an unprecedented thing,” she said. “We’re all having to go at this and figure things out as we go along and because of that we want to make sure our community members are educated about what they’re facing and what we’re doing.”

North Myrtle Beach shared with News13 drone images of the beach there Saturday. It uses drones to see how well people are social distancing. The city said people were also pretty agreeable.

Governor McMaster allowed public beach accesses to reopen last week– with social distancing rules in place- and handed the decision off to local jurisdictions.

Pawleys Island Town Council voted Monday to keep public beach access closed until May 1st. That is contingent on Georgetown County opening access on or before that date, though. County Council is expected to take up the vote Tuesday evening.

Myrtle Beach, meanwhile, is expected to discuss the issue at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. It announced last Monday it would keep beaches closed for now. The city’s beach advisory committee recommended Friday reopening the beaches May 1. Count on News13 for updates.

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