ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Beaches across the Lowcountry are remaining firm on restrictions in place limiting access to beaches. Tuesday night, the Isle of Palms City Council voted to reduce checkpoint hours limiting access to the Island to 8am-5pm. City Council has also voted to extend it’s ban on short term rentals and the checkpoints until May 12th.
Isle of Palms City Council also discussed a phased reopening strategy for the island. Earlier today Sullivan’s Island Town Council voted to keep all restrictions in place through May 12th including leaving the current checkpoints in place.
Some Isle of Palms residents believe it’s time to open the island while others believe restrictions should remain in place.
“My thoughts are they ought to open it up but there’s plenty of room out here, there’s nobody here right now but I’m sure that people would love to be out here,” says Frank, an Isle of Palms resident who didn’t want to use his last name.
“Ultimately keeping things a little bit restricted, I’d like to see it until June,” says Isle of Palms resident Ben Marks.
Meanwhile, Sullivan’s Island will keep restrictions in place through May 12th including enforcing checkpoints.
“I think we would like to open things up at least to some degree as soon as possible, we have to of course focus on the safety of our residents,” says Sullivan’s Island Town Council Member Sarah Church.
Sullivan’s Island Town Council Member Sarah Church says officials worry about the ability for social distancing if beaches were to open.
“It becomes an area where you really can’t function on those streets without having to get fairly close to people, especially if a car passes by,” says Church.
Church says Sullivan’s Island could make changes if to the restrictions based on the actions taken by the Isle of Palms.
“Our main goal right now is to also stay in sync with the Isle of Palms so that we can act sort of as one cohesive island,” says Church.
Isle of Palms resident Ben Marks believes opening the island too quickly could affect many including first responders.
“If we’re just crushed with summertime visitors, that’s just that more exposure they’re all subject to,” says Marks.
Frank, a short term rental owner on the Island says the restrictions have been hard but hopes they can be lifted soon.
“They should be allowing just about anybody who wants to be here to be here. I don’t really see any real difference,” says Frank.
The Isle of Palms City Council plans to meet again ahead of the 12th to decide whether or not to extent current restrictions.