Isle of Palms votes to remove beach restrictions

Isle of Palms votes to remove beach restrictions
Access restrictions and checkpoints will be removed starting this Wednesday, May 6. On Monday, during an emergency meeting, City Council voted to accelerate the opening of checkpoints with a vote of 6-3. (Source: Live 5 News)

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - The Isle of Palms is removing restrictions to its beaches this week.

Access restrictions and checkpoints will be removed starting this Wednesday, May 6. On Monday, during an emergency meeting, City Council voted to accelerate the opening of checkpoints with a vote of 6-3.

IOP leaders said the beach is open for exercise only. Police will be enforcing city and state ordinances.

“Sunbathing, loitering without moving and groups of more than 3 people will be prohibited,” city officials said.

After May 6, parking in the Municipal Parkin Lot B, located on Pavilion Drive, will be limited to 50% capacity.

The news follows after Charleston County Council threatened the possibility of legal action if Isle of Palms did not reopen beach access.

Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey sent a letter to Isle of Palms Mayor Jimmy Carroll.

Summey referenced a Friday vote by the city of Isle of Palms to continue restricting access to the beach only to IOP residents from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., preventing county residents from accessing county parks and prohibiting short-term rentals on the island through May 12.

That vote, Summey says, “directly contradicts” Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive orders that recinded the prohibition on access to public beach access, rescinded the prohibition on short-term and vacation rentals and lifted the Home or Work order and allowed outdoor dining at restaurants who follow specific conditions.

The City of Isle of Palms released the following information Monday night:

The Isle of Palms City Council held an emergency City Council meeting today, Monday, May 4, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. to discuss and consider amendments to the emergency ordinances and implement further measures to protect the citizens of the Isle of Palms.

City Council took the following actions:

  • Entry access restrictions and checkpoints will be removed starting Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
  • After May 6, 2020 parking in the Municipal Parking Lot B, located on Pavilion Drive, will be limited to 50% capacity.
  • Council has granted a 15-day exemption starting on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 for Isle of Palms restaurants to allow outdoor sales of food directly outside of their establishments.
  • Isle of Palms Police Department will proactively enforce all state and city ordinances, including, but not limited to the regulations related to COVID-19.
  • Parking infractions will result in a $50 citation.
  • Failure to maintain social distancing, failure to follow the “Keep it Moving” policy on the beach, and people gathering in groups of more than three (3) people, will result in a citation of up to $1,087.

The following information, regulations and restrictions are still in place:

Short-Term Rentals and Hotels

Short term rentals, hotel and overnight accommodations of 29 days or less are prohibited until May 12th. However, City Council created the Short-Term Rental and Hotel Phased Re-Opening Task Force to discuss a plan for opening Short Term Rentals and Hotels prior to May 12th, 2020.

Beach Use Restrictions

The beach is open for exercise only. Permitted exercise: Running, walking, dog-walking, biking, surfing, and other recreational activities consistent with social distancing. Sunbathing, loitering without moving and groups of more than 3 people will be prohibited. There is an exemption for disabled citizens with the appropriate DMV issued handicap decal.

All public gatherings of any type, of greater than 3 people are prohibited, except family members who live in the same household.

Isle of Palms Police Department will enforce these regulations and violators

Access Restrictions

Access to the island is restricted between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. until Tuesday, May 5, 2020 to the following:

  • Residents and property owners of the island with a current parking decal or any other proof of residency or ownership.
  • 2019 and 2020 resident parking decals, hurricane re-entry stickers, Wild Dunes resident sticker. Police Department will temporarily stop issuing in person residential beach parking permits and passes. Residents who apply for their residential parking decal online will receive their permits and passes via us mail.
  • Relatives and/or friends of residents only in a vehicle with a resident with a current parking decal or proof of residency readily visible on or near the vehicle.
  • Contractors with current business licenses
  • Service workers with current decals
  • Delivery personnel, including but not limited to pharmacy, FedEx, UPS, Amazon, USPS
  • Any person delivering essential medical services, including caregivers
  • Employees and suppliers of local business, including but not limited to, grocery stores, restaurants, contractors, property managers.

Assistance for Businesses

  • All deadlines imposed by City Ordinance shall be suspended until July 15, 2020.
  • A temporary exemption of the plastics ban ordinance is in place for businesses during the state of emergency.
  • The City has compiled a list of resources available to businesses to support economic retention and recovery related to the novel outbreak.

City Operations and Other Information:

  • Police and Fire Departments continue with normal operations and continue taking necessary measures to protect personnel from exposure and infection of COVID-19. Please call the non-emergency number at (843) 886-6522 rather than walk-in for non-emergency questions.
  • All recreational and athletic programs/classes and events will be postponed until further notice.
  • Starting on Monday, May 4th, the following outdoor recreational facilities at the Recreation Center will reopen Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.:
  • Tennis courts: Available for singles only. No more than 2 people per court will be allowed at the same time or available for family play so long as players are all related and from the same household.
  • Soccer field: The field will be divided in two halves. No more than 3 people will be allowed on each side.
  • Multi-purpose field:The field will be divided in two halves.No more than 3 people will be allowed on each side.
  • Bark Park: No more than 3 people will be allowed inside the bark park at the same time.Social distancing rules apply in the bark park.Any dog owners waiting outside for use of the bark park with their pet must remain six feet apart.
  • Citizens will be required to maintain strict social distancing restrictions while performing the allowed outdoor recreational activities.
  • City Hall offices will be closed to the public starting on Tuesday, March 17th.
  • City Hall staff will work remotely and staggered schedules to increase physical distance among employees and between employees and others.
  • The City encourages all citizens to delay non-essential business and walk-in customer service to City Hall.
  • Parking and Court fines can be paid online or by mail to PO Drawer 508 Isle of Palms, South Carolina.
  • Other payments can be made online via credit card or through the drop box in the lobby of City Hall, or by mail to PO Drawer 508 Isle of Palms, South Carolina.
  • Specific staff contact information is available on the City’s website here. Every effort will be made to accommodate residents remotely.
  • The Building Departments is processing building permits and business licenses via phone, email, and using the forms page here. Please call (843) 886-9912 for more information.
  • As of now, household garbage collection will operate on a normal schedule.However, this is subject to any closure at the Charleston County Bee’s Ferry Landfill site.
  • Effective noon, April 17, 2020, the Isle of Palms Marina and Breach Inlet boat ramp for launching and retrieving will be opened.
  • Municipal Court has been canceled and is being postponed to a later date. Notices will be mailed this week. For questions or more information, please email Amy Wilkerson Lee, Clerk of Court, at amyw@iop.net
  • The Isle of Palms County Park is closed. Visit their Alert Center for updates.
  • The public restrooms located in Front Beach will be temporarily closed until further notice.

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