ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry beach communities say they are taking steps to prepare ahead of Memorial Day after beaches were packed this past weekend.
Isle of Palms City leaders say they are preparing for another busy weekend ahead of Memorial Day. After writing nearly 500 tickets this past weekend, they say the focus remains on traffic and social distancing.
“We were planning for a big weekend this coming weekend not necessarily last weekend,” says IOP Police Chief Kevin Cornett. “But this weekend we have more staff on, we’re got more staff from Charleston County Sheriff’s Office that’s coming out to help.”
Isle of Palms Police Chief Kevin Cornett says along with the nearly 500 tickets this past weekend, the department issued two DUIs before calling a special city council meeting on Saturday night. At the meeting, leaders talked about how to prepare for a busy Memorial Day weekend.
“We had traffic from Palm Boulevard all the way to Highway 17, bumper to bumper,” says Cornett. “All of the traffic jams were on the island, all the main arteries were clogged up.”
Chief Cornett says the department will increase staff for the three day weekend but encourages beach goers to follow the city’s social media pages and to download the SC511 app to track traffic.
“Go to the Charleston beaches and you can click on the different cameras there and if it looks like it’s backed up then it’s probably backed up and the parking lots are going to be full,” says Cornett.
City leaders say social distancing was followed on beaches but saw cars double and triple parked on main roads. IOP Mayor Jimmy Carroll says the city has a plan in place for the upcoming weekend.
“We’re going to watch it and we’re ready,” says Carroll. “We’re going to have messaging and we’re also asking people to watch our social media.”
Mayor Carroll says it’s important to continue to practice social distancing on beaches, to follow traffic guidelines and to look out for messages if you plan to soak up some sun.
“Please help us help you and everyone enjoy the beaches but let’s do it responsibly,” says Carroll.
Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey says the county will continue to assist the beach communities. As of right now, Chairman Summey says the county is looking to set up messaging boards along highway 17 to let people know when parking lots have filled up. Chairman Summey also encourages beach goers to be smart.
Folly Beach Police Chief Andrew Gilreath says Folly Beach will also increase it’s staff and enforcement on the Island for Memorial Day Weekend.