FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Folly Beach police have given out dozens of tickets in regards to people violating the Governor’s order prohibiting any gatherings of three or more people if officers believe it poses a public threat.
“It’s something we run into on a daily basis, especially on the beach,” said Chief Andrew Gilreath with the Folly Beach Police Department
As of Tuesday, officers had given out more than 40 tickets for violations of that executive order.
“We’re trying to be more educative and making sure people understand the reasoning,” Gilreath said. “But it’s not tons and tons of tickets – those are saved for the people who want to give us a hard time.”
But, Gilreath they are preparing for that number to go up since Folly Beach City Council voted Monday to reduce the hours of the checkpoint to get onto Folly Beach from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Thursday. At that point the checkpoint will be removed all together.
“Our general plan now, until the checkpoint comes down, is making sure everything is ready to go to patrol the beach effectively,” Gilreath said.
But, with the checkpoint set to be removed, Folly Beach police are preparing to take a tough stance.
“We are very much interested in setting the tone,” Gilreath said. “One of the things I passed on to my staff is to be thinking about setting the tone and being tough on enforcement to spread the word.”
Gilreath said they will be especially strict on existing rules like:
- No alcohol on the beach
- No glass on the beach
- Dogs cannot be on the beach from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- If dogs are on the beach, outside of the hours listed above, they must ALWAYS be leashed
“The hope is that when it comes to July and August folks will know the rules, they’ll expect to be held accountable and they’ll come out here and do what they should do,” Gilreath said. “Have a good time but don’t break the rules.”
City leaders have also removed the exercise-only on the beach rule. But that’s something, Gilreath said, helped reduce crowds.
“Having the coolers and chairs back out there is going to create an environment that’s more conducive to sitting around with larger groups,” Gilreath said. “So we’ll have to keep an eye on that.”
Council members say if things don’t go well this weekend, they plan to reconvene next week.
Gilreath said, because his department only has 18 officers, he has requested assistance from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and local SLED agents to help with enforcement.