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Beach goers enjoy the sun and sand at The Sands beach on Saturday, March 28 in Port Royal. Photo by Lola Bee.

Gov. McMaster closes public access to beaches

in Coronavirus/Port Royal by

Beach goers enjoy the sun and sand at The Sands beach on Saturday, March 28 in Port Royal. Photo by Lola Bee.

Beach goers enjoy the sun and sand at The Sands beach on Saturday, March 28 in Port Royal. Photo by Lola Bee. 

Public boat ramps, landings closed on lakes, rivers, waterways

By Mike McCombs

Governor Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-16 on Monday, ordering the closure of all public access points to the state’s beaches, as well as public boat ramps, landings and other access points on the state’s lakes, rivers and waterways.

His order comes after a weekend that saw the public swarm to several beaches across the state, in particular Myrtle Beach. There were also issues at Folly Beach near Charleston, where officials briefly re-opened the coastline Saturday amid confusion over the legality of the town’s ban on out-of-town visitors.

The Sands in Port Royal saw a significant number of people on Saturday, as well.

Hunting Island State Park, as well as the beaches on Hilton Head Island, were already closed.

“As a result of behavior observed this past weekend by the Department of Natural Resources and SLED, it has become necessary to close public access to our state’s beaches, and to close boat ramps and landings on our state’s lakes, rivers and waterways,” Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday afternoon. “This is unfortunate for those who chose to responsibly follow the instructions of our public health officials, but it is a necessary action to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.”

The governor’s executive order authorizes and instructs the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in consultation with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Attorney General’s office, to provide any necessary guidance.

The order does not apply to licensed commercial fishermen, nor does in impact the rights of private property owners living on beaches, lakes, rivers, or waterways in any way.

 

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