MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Law enforcement officers along the Grand Strand are issuing citations for people violating the statewide public beach access ban.
Last week, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered all public access points to beaches and other waterways to be closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. But people are still able to access the beach through private pathways.
On Wednesday, the beach along Ocean Boulevard was nearly empty because of the ban and other restrictions. A vast contrast to what the usually bustling coastline looks like during the tourism season this time of year.
"It's just bizarre really to have it so wide open this time of year with such beautiful days,” Mark King, who owns a beach condo, said. “It's been nice for us, but unfortunate for a lot of people that aren't able to come down."
During Wednesday’s Beach Advisory Committee meeting, Myrtle Beach Police told city officials that every morning, officers ride the beach to make sure the signs and barricades are still in place. They also patrol the beach throughout the day.
Since the public access ban, Myrtle Beach police have issued several citations for people violating the order.
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“Our patrol officers are out and about. Our regulatory unit is out and about,” Mark Kruea, the city’s spokesperson, said. “If someone sees someone trying to get around the barricades we'll get an email or phone call and we'll certainly check on that too."
Surfside Beach Police Chief Kenneth Hofmann said they’ve given out 5 citations so far.
Both the Horry County Police Department and North Myrtle Beach said they haven't issued any tickets or citations for people violating public beach accesses or boat landings.
However, HCPD did issue 32 warnings on Tuesday.
Nonetheless, all of the departments said people usually comply when told to leave.
Myrtle Beach’s City Manager John Pederson also mentioned during the meeting that police aren’t asking people they encounter on the beach how they got there, but they are enforcing social distancing with people they come across.