By Summer Huechtker | May 6, 2020 at 5:20 AM EDT - Updated May 6 at 8:51 AM
ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - The Isle of Palms becomes the first beach city in the Charleston area to reopen its beach to the public since the pandemic forced all beaches to close.
The checkpoints to restrict the public from getting on the Isle of Palms are now gone as of Wednesday.
But if you are planning to head out to the beach, there are some strict guidelines local law enforcement is enforcing.
Isle of Palms police will be enforcing a "Keep it Moving" policy. They say the intent is to not have large groups gathering on the beach.
The public can come to the beach for exercise, but police say you cannot lounge, sit around in chairs or on towels, or sunbathe on the beach.
“What we’re asking them to do is to understand that the ordinances are in place to keep things orderly and to make sure that everybody is safe,” Isle of Palms Police Chief Kevin Cornett said.“So we really, we know you’re coming, we look forward to having you, but we really ask you to help us by following all of the ordinances that are in place.”
Cornett says officers will be patrolling 24/7 in police vehicles, ATVs and on-foot on the beach.
The Isle of Palms Police Department has asked the Charleston County Sheriff's Office for additional assistance in enforcing these rules on the beach and for assistance with traffic and parking regulations.
Cornett says if you’re caught breaking the rules, you could receive a citation under the city emergency ordinance, that would cost you $1,087.
The Police Department says they are expecting traffic today as they know people are eager to get out to the beach.
Police say most people seemed to follow the rules when the beach was on restricted hours, which helped them decide to open it fully.
“As long as people follow these ordinances, we can continue to ease back restrictions,” Cornett said. “It’s when we have a lot of people that fail to follow those restrictions, that I would imagine that council would have to take a different approach to them.”
Cornett says he stays in close contact with the other area beach community police chiefs, especially Sullivan’s Island because they are so close. He says he expects them to look to the Isle of Palms to see how closely people follow directions to decide what to do for their own beach restrictions.
Police officers and deputies will be regulating traffic on Isle of Palms starting Wednesday morning. They are expecting a high volume of visitors since this is the first area beach to open back up.
The Isle of Palms says there will be limited parking. Municipal Lot A, which is located behind the Police Department, will be reserved for public safety employees.
The number of available spaces in Municpal lot B on Pavillion Drive and Ocean Boulevard will be cut in half. Cornett says part of that lot is closed for construction workers.
The front beach parking spaces are still available.
Police say normal beach rules that prohibit alcohol, glass, or smoking on the beach will also be enforced.
Isle of Palms Police say if you have any additional questions, they are happy to answer them. You can send them a message on theIsle of Palms Police Department Facebook page.
You can also call the police department at 843-886-6522.
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