Isle of Palms beaches reopen under restrictions after weeks long closure

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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – For the first time in more than a month, hundreds were out on the Isle of Palms’ beaches for the first time in more than a month after a long battle over when the beach would reopen.

Beaches like Front Beach saw consistent crowd, most of who followed the City’s keep it moving policy and social distancing requirements.

“What we’re happy to see is the people who are out here today taking advantage of the beach, they’re doing what we’re asking them to do,” says Isle of Palms Police Chief Kevin Cornett. “They’re following the social distancing, they’re going to keep moving like they’ve been asked to do.”

Chief Cornett says beaches saw fewer numbers than expected but hopes those planning to hit the beach will respect the rules.

“Our concern would be if people come out and they don’t do what we’re asking them to do, they don’t social distance, they don’t keep moving, they don’t follow all the regulations,” says Chief Cornett. “The concern would be that it creates a greater risk for everybody that’s out here.”

Beach goers say they were happy to see beaches on IOP back open.

“I definitely think it’s a good thing just for people to get out of the house and you know be able to come out and do something rather than be stuck inside,” says a beach goer.

Some say they were expecting a longer line of traffic to get on the Island but say they had no issues getting to the beach.

“I thought it was going to be flooded with people but it’s not surprisingly,” says a beach goer.

While the beach wasn’t packed Wednesday, many are hoping those who plan to come to the beach over the next few days will keep it moving.

“Don’t ruin it for everybody just you know be smart, be safe and just keep your distance from everybody,” says a beach goer.

Chief Cornett says ignoring the guidelines on beaches could come at a hefty price in the form of a citation or worse.

“If that happens I think we would have to talk to our council and council may have to look at that and take a different approach to it and maybe even as far as close the beach down again,” says Chief Cornett.

Chief Cornett says to expect an increased presence of officers patrolling beaches with the help of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department but hopes the extra coverage is only a precaution.

“Everybody’s out here doing just what they are supposed to be doing, that’s how we keep beaches open,” says Chief Cornett.

Chief Cornett says most people respected the guidelines but a few citations and parking tickets were handed out. He stresses the importance of sticking to the guidelines for those planning to visit the beach.

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