Beach mayors prepare communities for potential spread of COVID-19

Beach mayors prepare communities for potential spread of COVID-19

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Grand Strand officials are concerned about the spread of coronavirus in their communities, as well as the economic impact the outbreak will have.

“Our restaurants and bars will take the greatest hit,” said Marilyn Hatley, mayor of North Myrtle Beach since 2001. “But North Myrtle Beach is strong. It might take some time but I’m expecting a strong summer.”

Hatley and Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Hellyer spoke candidly about the impact state shutdowns will have during a typically busy time of year.

“Our No. 1 concern is making sure residents are safe,” Hellyer said standing on the front lawn of Town Hall.

Hellyer added that residents are already voicing anxiety surrounding the length of shutdowns and quarantines.

Another question that many have been asking WMBF News is if the beaches will close.

Hellyer said Surfside Beach leaders have not discussed any beach closures and said they will wait for state or federal guidance.

North Myrtle Beach said their beaches remain open at this time but they evaluate all aspects of life in the city daily.

Neither mayor could say how long the shutdowns may last, but both encouraged citizens to keep neighbors stay afloat during a difficult time.

“I’m encouraged,” Hellyer finished. “I see neighbor helping neighbor.”

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