FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - The City of Folly Beach is operating under OPCON 1 as Hurricane Matthew approaches; officials urge residents to evacuate while they still can.
Many workers were busy Wednesday boarding up restaurants and stores on the island.
Some employees said they were boarding up at this time to stay ahead of the storm.
"It's just the main priorities," said Jessica Brown, an employee at Aqua. "Making sure we're okay. I mean it's great we're out here doing this as early as we are, because as soon as we get this thing done, then we can get through it, and the sooner we get back."
Workers had different strategies for how they preferred to board up the windows.
Those at Snapper Jacks placed sandbags against the windows first, bolted the boards down, and then placed sandbags against the bottom.
"It worked for us in the past so hopefully this will work again," one of the employees said.
The workers added they felt confident despite the high winds and rain coming with Matthew.
As for homeowners, several houses can be seen with boarded windows.
One resident said she has never dealt with a hurricane before, but mentioned this year has been bad weather wise for them, especially with Tropical Storms Hermine and Julia.
"We had shingles rip off our roof," said Laura Pavlides.
While they weathered those storms, Pavlides said Matthew is a different beast.
"The highest that we've ever gone up here was, I believe 69 miles per hour," she said. "That's about when I've had it. So when they said this was going to be over 100, maybe even more than that, I said we're [not dealing with that]."
Pavlides added her family started boarding up windows early Tuesday morning in preparation for the storm.
"We've ply-boarded every window," she said. "We have some hurricane shutters too, but they don't fit on every window. You're just trying to do anything you can to turn your house into this kind of protective blob."
Besides protecting their home, the Pavlides collected as many personal items as they could to prevent them from being damaged.
"You go through everything that means something to you," she said. "Then you find out you have to half that, and half that. So whatever is going to fit in the back of a mini-van, so that's hard."
"It's just a lot of stuff to pack," said Chris Pavlides, her son. "Makes you want less things in life."
Chris added it's been tough trying to comprehend what's going on with the storm.
"It's just an immediate change for me to come home from school and then immediately be packing up," he said.
Meanwhile there are several beachfront homes that are still unprotected.
City officials are urging any homeowners or property owners to prepare their residences as soon as possible.
Law enforcement is also restricting access to the island.
Only residents, property owners, and business employee with proof/ID will be permitted to access the island after 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The beach is closed to visitors for safety, dangers of potential flooding, and/or potential property crime on the island.
All businesses should submit a list of essential employees to email@example.com and those employees should have personal identification and/or employee identification.
Officials have not said whether they would completely block access in the future.
Re-entry to the island:
Re-entry to the island after the hurricane threat passes will be strictly controlled to minimize threats to personal safety and property crimes will be determined by Public Safety and Department of Transportation.
Information will be publicized on the City's website, Facebook pages:
Residents and property owners will be permitted re-entry before the general public, depending on conditions. You're asked to bring two forms of identification.
Folly Beach residents can register for Code Red, a free program that allows the public to receive voicemail and text message notifications about emergency situations, such as critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods or a hurricane evacuation order. When notified, citizens will hear a message that gives details on the emergency and includes instructions on any actions they should take. Register online at: http://www.cityoffollybeach.com/city-departments-services/public-safety/emergency-notification/