ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The coronavirus pandemic has canceled one of the largest annual events on the Grand Strand.
COVID-19 forced Atlantic Beach’s biggest event Bikefest from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, but Horry County’s summer spike of cases means the motorcycles won’t be back at all in 2020.
“We got all kinds of overhead expenses that we are at risk if the COVID virus gets worse, people don’t show, no commitment from the vendors, we go in the hole,” said town manager Benjamin Quattlebaum.
Town council voted unanimously Monday night to cancel Bikefest.
Quattlebaum any lost revenue won’t impact Atlantic Beach, since the town doesn’t include that money in its budget.
“We hope that once this COVID situation resides that we’re going have a big turnout next year, given that COVID is cleared up and people will be dying to get back here,” he said.
Atlantic Beach is also joining its neighbors Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach by passing an ordinance requiring face coverings for visitors in all retail businesses.
“It’s evident that people need to be wearing masks and that’s what we’re going to do in our town,” said Mayor Jake Evans.
The mask mandate begins Tuesday at noon and will remain for 60 days, unless it’s canceled before then. The ordinance also applies to employees of all stores and restaurants. Like other places, there are exceptions like for age or health conditions.
Customers could pay up to a $25 fine and business owners could pay $100 bucks for a violation.
“Of course, we are a town of color and we understand that COVID has really impacted people of color from underlying diseases and other things going on,” said council member Glenda Williams.
Council member Jacqueline Gore is especially concerned about the coronavirus. She says she tested positive exactly one month ago on June 6.
While Gore says she was asymptomatic, she doesn’t want the virus to spread.
“Everybody should have a mask on,” Gore said. “That’s why we made the decision, because we’re like everybody else.”
Town council also voted to extend its state of emergency until Sept. 14.