Estimated 380 citations given for shade devices, coolers, chairs on Sullivan’s Island during summer
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND S.C. (WCSC)- Since May, police on Sullivan’s Island have handed out 380 citations to people for using chairs, coolers or shade devices on the beach, which is restricted under a current COVID-19 emergency ordinance.
The majority of the citations are for chairs on the beach, while infractions increased by nearly 70 percent in July and August as compared to May and June.
Mayor Pat O’Neil said he was surprised after seeing infractions increase the longer the ordinance has been in effect.
“I was a little surprised because I thought people had been figuring out the rules, but if you look at the numbers over the months of the summer, it doesn’t look like there’s been much of a learning curve,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil said the rule was put in place to limit crowd sizes on the beach during COVID-19.
“It’s not about number of tickets written, it’s about trying to keep people safe and at the same time allowing them to enjoy the beach,” O’Neil said. “Hopefully, we’ve been able to achieve that regardless of how many tickets have been written.”
However, Rusty Williamson who lives on the Isle of Palms said the ordinance has created more harm than good by driving more people to neighboring beaches.
“Until they lift their restrictions there, it’s going to create more traffic here and we have limited parking as it is,” Williamson said.
The Isle of Palms and Folly beach currently have parking restrictions in place to limit island capacity during the pandemic.
“We don’t need any more of a headache than we already got,” Williamson said.
The ban on coolers, chairs and shade devices lasts until September 16.
O’Neil said he wants town leaders to revisit the ordinance sooner rather than later.
“We need to take a look at this ordinance, the existing ordinance which includes the prohibition of those items on the beach,” O’Neil said. “When it gets to the point when it looks like restrictions could be relaxed somewhat, I know we’ll be willing to do that again as long as the [COVID-19] numbers justify.”
Sullivan’s Island town council will meet next on Tuesday.
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