Outdoor activity businesses in Horry Co. see boost, ‘naturally social distancing’

Grand Strand

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – As some Horry County businesses start to reopen, outdoor businesses that can practice social distancing are seeing an increase in business.

It’s a breath of fresh air long-awaited for small business owner Laura Weaver, the general manager of Glass Bottom Kayak Tours. The governor’s order to shut down non-essential businesses included Weaver’s ‘naturally social distancing’ kayaking business.

“The day that the blockades went up I came out immediately and it was the loneliest thing you’ve ever seen,” Weaver said.

Waterways and boat ramps blocked for several weeks has kept kayakers, fisherman, and boaters away from Cherry Grove Park. On Monday, the governor lifted his order opening the Cherry Grove Area and putting Weaver’s kayak tours back in business.

As the general manager and a tour guide, Weaver guides kayaks near Cherry Grove Park, excited to share the beauty of a place that’s been special to her since the ’80s. Over the decades, she says the park has never been as quiet.

Starting on Monday, Weaver noticed more people are looking for ways to get out of the house and get fresh air.

“It’s kind of like opening a Christmas present… you’re just in awe that you’re able to get out,” Tony Martin, a North Myrtle Beach resident frequently out fishing near Cherry Grove Park said.

Glass Bottom Kayak Tour is enforcing CDC recommendations keeping kayakers six feet apart, temporarily only booking families, and sanitizing boats and paddles between tours.

“The only way you can ride in one of our glass bottom kayaks (double-seated kayaks) is that you guys are from the same household,” Weaver said.

Before COVID-19 the kayak business was looking to have one of their biggest years on record. Spring break was around the corner, and tour guide’s kayak tours were scheduled and booked. All of a sudden on March 13th, business was gone.

“Everything was gone we had to do all our refunds for spring break plus future sales,” Weaver said. “It’s been a very difficult journey for a small business.”

The Glass Bottom Kayak Tour re-opens while continuing to encourage safe activity. Weaver’s advice to those hesitant to return to their usual activities is “ to be really in charge of your mental state and mental wellbeing.”

If you have questions or want to set up a private tour, call 843-333-6420 or click here for available dates.

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