Four Lowcountry beach municipalities opt to continue access checkpoints

VIDEO: Beach towns plans to keep checkpoints in place

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Four Lowcountry beach communities have agreed to continue island restrictions even as governor McMaster is expected to re-open beach access early next week.

Leaders with Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach and Edisto Beach have been in contact with county officials since finding out about the governor’s plans.

“People should not assume that because one regulation is relaxed, that the threat has passed,” Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neil said. “It will be very important for people to distinguish between being able to have access to the beach per say, versus having access to the island town where the beach is.”

Sunday, all four towns released a joint statement saying they’ll keep checkpoint restrictions to the islands.

Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said he understands the financial concerns of businesses that rely on visitors.

“We want to get people back out here. We want for our businesses to make money because the town needs to make money to keep on going,” Goodwin said. “This is a matter of public health versus making dollars so we’re trying to just make sure we’re keeping the public healthy and we’ll make the dollars when we can.”

Residents and workers will still be allowed into the communities.

Goodwin said if McMaster reopens beach access, Folly residents will be allowed to use the area for recreation only.

“Folly Beach will be open for exercise only, so you can walk, run, jog, swim, surf,” Goodwin said.

State Senator Stephen Goldfinch confirmed that the governor is expected to make an order Monday that would rollback restrictions to public beaches made at the end of March.

“What’s being talked about at the governor’s office is simply an order that allows all state access to open with the exception of municipalities that feel they should not open for public health and safety,” Goldfinch said.

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