Despite beautiful weekend weather ahead, Cooper urges NC residents not to make beach trips

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper had a message for North Carolina residents on Friday ahead of what is shaping up to be a nice weekend: don’t head to the beach.

An empty beach on a beautiful April day is not typical for the Carolinas.

“It’s really eerie. I mean, as everywhere is in America right now, but one of the things that’s really noticeable here is there are absolutely no cars parked on the street,” said Molly Cook.

Cook videochatted with CBS 17 from Folly Beach. She’s a North Carolina resident, but she’s staying with family there amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state-owned access points are closed to Folly Beach. Beachfront residents are still allowed on.

“It’s really, really, really quieted down,” she said.

Other spots, like Kure Beach, were also quiet Friday, which is what Cooper wants to continue seeing.

“Now is not the time for beach trips or neighborhood cookouts,” Cooper said.

He said despite the temptations, it’s essential to keep social distancing and stay at home this weekend.

“It could save your life,” Cooper said.

Most state park boat ramps and fishing areas are still open as long as people follow social distancing and mass-gathering requirements.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said if people ignore the rules, they’ll close all boating and fishing access points.

Some spots, like Jordan Lake, already closed boat ramps. Park rangers said they’ll be there this weekend to turn people away.

“They have to do these really drastic measures and it doesn’t feel good, but there’s a purpose for it because there are some people who are taking it really seriously and then there are people who aren’t,” Cook said. “Unfortunately, all those people are making it so the rest of us have to pay the price.”

All state parks will close at sunset every day.

For the most up to date list of what lakes are open and closed, click here.

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