Grand Strand mayors preparing for spring break crowds

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 8:09 AM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The mayors Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach are addressing concerns regarding spring travel during the COVID-19 pandemic after Miami police arrested 1,000 people during spring break.

City leaders say they’re always thinking about ways to keep the community safe, and one of them is the different police departments partnering together on the weekends to increase safety.

“We always know what’s going on. Our officers and beach patrol, we are in contact with spring breakers,” North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley said. “Last year, we didn’t have a lot of spring breakers, but this year we are looking for more and this will be a time we will say look, we have social distancing. We are always watching over the city.”

Hatley said the dynamic between North Myrtle Beach and Miami is different. North Myrtle Beach is mostly single-family homes and condos with less hotels.

She noted when it comes to spring breakers, the city has seen the same schools coming for years. As far as what they do to protect the community, North Myrtle Beach police are aware of spring break visitors and are constantly watching over the groups, including house or beach parties.

Just days into the official start of spring, traffic is already picking up along Ocean Boulevard. While some say the groups have been a little rowdy, it hasn’t been anything like what happened in Miami this past weekend.

But Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said they’re always prepared.

“We have a plan and it is a plan that can be implemented within a moment’s notice,” Bethune said. “Our police department, [Myrtle Beach Police] Chief Prock does an excellent job monitoring situations and using different components in that plan as needed.”

Part of the plan includes using the traffic management plan, which flushes traffic off the boulevard to control crowds.

Bethune said if they need to implement a curfew they will. It happened last year in the city as crowds gathered along the boulevard and for protests.

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