IOP: Important info for visitors

Charleston County News

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – The Isle of Palms (IOP) government has created a resource to help visitors stay up to date with frequently changing policies and procedures.

With checkpoints coming down on Wednesday, and IOP being the only beach fully open to the public, the island is expecting an influx of visitors. However, officials are working to ensure that the island does not become a hotspot. As part of that effort, many restrictions have been placed on beach activities.

This list of “Frequently Asked Questions” explains COVID-19 policies, how they are being implemented, and how visitors may be impacted.

For answers to some of the most common questions, courtesy of IOP, see below:

Q: Is the Isle of Palms beach closed?

A: No. Public beach access paths are open. The checkpoints and access restrictions to the Isle of Palms will be lifted on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

Q: Can I take a chair and sit on the beach?

A: No, unless you are disabled and have a handicap placard. The beach is currently open for exercise only. Permitted exercise includes: Walking, running, swimming, surfing, or other exercise activities that are consistent with social distancing. Individuals with appropriate DMV issued handicap decals are exempt from the exercise only requirement.

Q: Can I walk on the beach with my dog?

A: Yes. All dogs that live or visit the City must be vaccinated against rabies and have a metal license tag attached to its collar with the name of the licensed veterinarian who provided the vaccine. Dogs must be on a leash and owners must clean up after their pets.

Dogs can be off leash only from 5:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. between April 1st through September 14th. After September 15th, dogs may be off leash between 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 a.m.

Q: What does the “Keep it Moving” policy mean?

A: The beach is currently open for exercise only. Permitted exercise includes: Walking, running, swimming, surfing, or other exercise activities that are consistent with social distancing. Individuals with appropriate DMV issued handicap decals are exempt from the exercise only requirement.

Sunbathing, loitering without moving and groups of more than 3 people are prohibited. There is an exemption for disabled citizens with the appropriate DMV issued handicap decal. Violating this regulation will result in a citation of up to $1,087.

Q: Can I go to the beach with a group of friends?

A: Gatherings of more than three (3) people are strictly prohibited, unless they are members of the same family that live in the same household. Violating this rule will result in a citation of up to $1,087.

Q: Do I have to stay six (6) feet away from everyone?

A: Yes, except family members who live in the same household. Citizens are required to social distance while exercising on the beach. Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.  

Q: What else is prohibited on the beach?

A: Smoking, glass bottles and alcoholic beverages are prohibited on the beach.  Motorized vehicles, including golf carts, are not allowed on beach.

The use of single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) coolers, cups and food containers and balloons is also prohibited on the beach. Residents and visitors are encouraged to use reusable, recyclable and compostable products when enjoying the Isle of Palms beach.

Q: What is the penalty for not complying with the social distancing and beach rules?

A: Violations of the social distancing and beach use restrictions will result in a citation of up to $1,087.

Q: Where can I legally park?

A: Citizens have several options for beach parking:

  1. The IOP County Park located at 14th Avenue. The daily parking fee is $10 Monday-Friday and $15 Saturday-Sunday.
  2. The large Municipal Parking Lot at Pavilion Drive will be open at 50% capacity. The daily parking fee is $10 Monday-Friday and $12 Saturday-Sunday. Download the Flowbird app on your mobile device to pay for parking using your phone.
  3. On-street parking is available on Ocean Boulevard between 10th and 14th Avenue. The hourly fee is $2. Download the Flowbird app on your mobile device to pay for parking using your phone.
  4. Both sides of Palm Boulevard between 21st and 40th Avenue. Vehicles must parallel park at least four feet (4’) away from the pavement. Also, double parking on the passenger side of any vehicle that is paralleled parked is prohibited. Drivers are required to park in the same direction as moving traffic when parked on the public right-of-way.
  5. Non-ocean side of Palm Boulevard between 41st and 57th Avenue. Vehicles must parallel park at least four feet (4’) away from the pavement. Also, double parking on the passenger side of any vehicle that is paralleled parked is prohibited. Drivers are required to park in the same direction as moving traffic when parked on the public right-of-way.
  6. Parallel parking only at
    • 3rd and 4th Avenue between Ocean and Charleston Boulevard.
    • 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Avenue between Ocean and Charleston Boulevard.

Citizens must be mindful of the signs that regulate parking on the Isle of Palms. The Isle of Palms Police Department will actively enforce parking rules and violations will result in a $50 citation.

For more information about IOP policies, visit the IOP website here.

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