Tourists still travel to the Grand Strand over the holiday weekend, despite rise in COVID-19 cases

KAT 11pm pkg fourth of july tourism pandemic

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - For many, it’s just not the Fourth of July without a trip to the beach.

This comes after health departments in a growing list of other states are warning travelers of the risks of coming to the Grand Strand.

“I’m looking around and I don’t see anyone with a mask on except for you, my boyfriend and of course I’ve taken it down to do this. I work in health care and I see this and it kind of, disappoints me,” Thersa, a visitor from North Carolina said.

She says when she found out about the Salute from our Shore flyover, she knew she wanted to drive down to Cherry Grove and see it.

However, she didn’t realize just how packed the beach would be on Saturday.

Cherry Grove Beach today around 1pm.

Posted by Katherine Phillips WMBF on Saturday, July 4, 2020

While hotel occupancy numbers for this weekend aren’t available yet, data from Coastal Carolina University shows occupancy in Horry and Georgetown counties are only slightly lower than they were this time last year. For the last weekend of June 2019, occupancy was just under 93%. The same weekend this year is at 88%.

The data shows, so far this summer, it’s been nearly the same as last year.

For Kelly Carmen and her husband, they said they had no fears coming for the weekend from Ohio.

“No, no, just be careful. Don’t cough and hack on anybody,” Carmen said.

She said she never even considered canceling their trip.

Another couple they traveled with said, they don’t plan on quarantining when they return home.

“I hope not, no,” they said when asked if they’ll consider a 14-day quarantine.

However, some visitors will be required to quarantine after a trip to the Grand Strand.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also signed an executive order recently, stating that vacationers picking up the virus in a hot spot, won’t get paid sick leave.

Still, with another record day of cases in Horry County, they say they aren’t worried about catching the virus.

“I wouldn’t say nervous, no,” Brian Marker, another visitor from Ohio, said.

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