WHAT TO KNOW: Grand Strand, Horry County visitor reservation restrictions

WHAT TO KNOW: Grand Strand, Horry County visitor reservation restrictions

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Major visitor restrictions were made by Grand Strand leaders on Thursday to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our area.

Horry County, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach issued ordinances that restrict new hotel and rental reservations from being made until April 30, in an effort to curb visitors, but each one is different.

We know that there is a lot of information and questions about the new ordinances put into place. We also have a lot of questions too and are working to get them answered for you. But here is what we know so far about the ordinances and the impact it has on visitors to our area.

Horry County

Horry County Council enacted an emergency ordinance that prohibits reservations at shorter-term rentals from Saturday, March 28 until April 30, 2020.

What kind of businesses does this impact?

Hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies, AirBnB, VRBO style lodging, public and private campgrounds and other overnight accommodations for 29 days or less.

What if I have a reservation in between March 28 and April 30?

Existing reservations made during that time period are being asked to be rescheduled or canceled.

What if I’m already visiting in Horry County?

Visitors who are currently checked in can remain until the end of their reservations, but they can’t extend their reservation.

Are there exemptions?

Yes, there are a couple of exemptions:

  • If a person has stayed consistently in a unit since before or on March 1, 2020, then they can stay, but they can’t invite friends or family members.
  • Those working in government, hospital, health agency, law enforcement, military and other critical personnel actively responding to COVID-19 can stay in the short-term rentals.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach City Council passed an ordinance that calls for hotels to stop taking new reservations prior to May 1, 2020, starting immediately.

What kind of businesses does this impact?

Hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies and Airbnb, VRBO style lodging, plus public and private campgrounds. Time shares are also included in the order.

What if I have a reservation between March 28 and April 30?

Any existing reservations made during that time period will have to be rescheduled or canceled.

What if I’m already visiting Myrtle Beach?

Anyone staying in a hotel or rental must leave by 12 p.m. on Sunday, March 29 and cannot extend their current reservations.

How will this be enforced?

WMBF News reached out to the Myrtle Beach Police Department and asked how officers would enforce the new ordinance and know if visitors have vacated by Sunday.

The department replied, “A variety of means will be used to educate our business community on the ordinance. We are focused on helping the effort to educate and are seeking voluntary compliance.”

If a business or person is found in violation it is a criminal act (misdemeanor) and could result in a fine up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail, upon conviction.

Are there exemptions?

Yes, these are the people who are exempted from the accommodations restrictions:

  • If you have been consistently staying in a unit on or before March 1, 2020, then you don’t have to leave but you can’t accept any new visitors.
  • Travelling medical staff.
  • First responders and other government employees who are engaged in official business.
  • Persons making deliveries of food, medical supplies, medicines, gasoline and other critical supplies.
  • Myrtle Beach residents displaced by a fire, as placed by the American Red Cross or Myrtle Beach Fire Department.
  • Myrtle Beach residents displaced by act or threat of domestic violence, as referred or placed by the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
  • Persons having a valid reservation prior to the effective date of this Order who would otherwise be rendered homeless.

If I don’t live in Myrtle Beach, but I own a house or other property, can I still come to visit?

Yes you are allowed to visit your second home in Myrtle Beach

What if I live permanently in a hotel or similar facility?

If that is your permanent address, then you are exempt from the order

North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach leaders passed an ordinance suspending the rental and use of short-term rentals starting Friday, March 27 through April 30, 2020.

What kind of businesses does this impact?

Hotels, motels, condo, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies, AirBnB, VRBO style lodging, public and private campgrounds and other overnight accommodations for 29 days or less.

What if I’m currently visiting North Myrtle Beach?

Visitors who are currently checked in can stay until the end of their current reservation.

Are there exemptions?

Those working in government, hospital, health agency, law enforcement, military and other critical personnel actively responding to COVID-19 can stay in the short-term rentals.

Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach leaders passed an ordinance suspending the rental and use of short-term rentals starting Saturday, March 28 through April 30, 2020.

What kind of businesses does this impact?

Hotels, motels, condo, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies, AirBnB, VRBO style lodging, public and private campgrounds.

What if I’m currently visiting Surfside Beach?

Visitors who are currently checked in can stay until the end of their current reservation.

Georgetown County

Georgetown County leaders passed an ordinance suspending the rental and use of short-term rentals starting Saturday, March 28 through May 1, 2020.

What kind of businesses does this impact?

Hotels, motels, condo, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies, AirBnB, VRBO style lodging, public and private campgrounds.

What if I’m currently visiting Georgetown County?

Visitors currently checked in prior to 12 a.m. March 28 may remain through their existing reservation, but such reservations may not be extended.

Are there exemptions?

Any units consistently occupied by the same occupant since March 1 are exempt, but new occupants including family and friends cannot be added at the unit.

Pawleys Island

The Pawleys Island Town Council passed an emergency ordinance on Friday that prohibits short-term rentals and other overnight accommodations through the month of April

What kind of businesses does this impact?

Any short-term rentals that allow guests for 29 days or less. Long-term rentals of 30 days or more are permitted to stay if they can show a valid lease agreement.

When does the ban go into effect?

It will go into effect Saturday, March 28, 2020 and will run through April 30, 2020.

What if I’m currently visiting Pawleys Island?

Visitors who are already checked in can stay until the end of their reservations.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.