Coronavirus: Myrtle Beach reopens after COVID-19 restrictions lifted

FILE PHOTO: People lay by the ocean in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S., on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Barricades have started to come down on public beaches in Myrtle Beach.

As the holiday weekend approaches, city officials in North Myrtle Beach have opted to protect visitors and locals by implementing a new ordinance that will require mask wearing at retailers, food spots and service locations.

In a special meeting Tuesday, city officials voted to require city dwellers and visitors wear face masks or coverings while working, visiting or doing business within the city, according to a report by the Myrtle Beach Sun News. North Myrtle Beach is the first Horry County town to pass a face mask policy as coronavirus cases continue to see a resurgence. Several other South Carolina cities, including Folly Beach and Charleston, have mask requirements in place.

The decision was received with some concerns from the public, but Mayor Marilyn Hatley said the ordinance is necessary due to so many community members failing to follow health guidelines such as social distancing and wearing a mask throughout the pandemic, which has now affected more than 36,000 South Carolinians and killed more than 735 of the state’s residents. 

“There is a responsibility for all of us to look out for the health and safety of our community,” Hatley said. “Wearing a mask is a simple thing. It’s easy to wear them into the stores.”

The policy will require face masks be worn in all retail establishments, such as groceries and pharmacies, along with any business where personal services are dispensed, including hair and nail salons, barbershops, gyms and tattoo parlors. 

In addition to those requirements, those who work in personal service and government agencies will be charged with wearing masks during all face-to-face interaction with the public.

Masks ordinances have propped up around the country as a means to further mitigate the surge in coronavirus cases, with 15 states and the District of Columbia having face mask orders, according to a CNN map. Recently, several cities in Texas and Jacksonville, Florida, where the Republican convention will take place, have enacted masks orders.