MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Thousands of people came to Myrtle Beach for the unofficial start of summer. Business owners say a postponed bike week and the ease of COVID-19 restrictions may have brought more families in town.
Oceanfront hotels turned on “no vacancy” signs on Saturday as reservations quickly became booked down Ocean Boulevard. Restaurants had long waits and beaches were crowded with groups social distancing.
Locals and families vacationing were out enjoying the boardwalk on Monday. People from out of town told News13 this is their first weekend getting back out. After months of quarantine, visitors said they were beginning to go stir crazy, leading them to a vacation in Myrtle Beach.
“We were cooped up in Philadelphia,” vacationer Danny Goomba said. “We’ve been going out to restaurants and outside cafes, it’s lovely here, beautiful town.”
Hotel and restaurant owners welcomed customers as holiday crowds checked in and dined in.
Business owners say many people came to the area from states were restrictions related to coronavirus may still be in place such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York.
“We got the best hamburger and cheesesteak on this side and then pineapple and ice cream on this side,” said Larry Cardella, manager of two Ocean Boulevard food shops, including Burger Paradise.
It was a good weekend for business owners like Cardella, who said it was the best weekend he’s had all year.
It wasn’t the typical Memorial Day in Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach’s streets on Memorial Day are usually flooded with bikers for the annual summer bike rally, making it tough for businesses as bikers don’t spend as much as the families do.
“I wish it was like this every Memorial Day that’s the way it’s supposed to be,” Cardella also said.
A postponed bike fest and Myrtle Beach easing COVID-19 restrictions drew a large crowd. News13 spoke with many families, first-timers, and year-round vacationers over the weekend arriving in Myrtle Beach.
“We had a couple of drinks, good friends, sunshine, beautiful skies, great scenery,” Jim Sullivan, a North Myrtle Beach local, said.
Locals say they’re used to twice the size of restaurant crowds this weekend. Reopening guidelines enforce restaurants to serving 50% capacity.