SURF CITY, N.C. (WECT) - Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin expressed concern Sunday at the number of beachgoers today in the Pender County community.
The coastal town opened up the beach accesses recently, but kept parking lots closed in an effort to cut down on the numbers of visitors. But with beautiful weather all weekend, several folks made their way to the surf and sand.
Mayor Medlin called the situation “a mess” Sunday when reached for comment.
He elaborated, “Yes, I said that in regards to the numbers on our beach today and the immense amount of disregard for the Governor’s Stay at Home order I was seeing. We have not yet begun Phase 1 and are risking seeing the Governor extend it further if we do not follow the order and take this seriously. We are close to coming out of this and seeing the orders lifted and I would hate to see actions like today prevent us from moving forward in the direction we want to go. We are trying to respect the state executive orders and heed the warnings from the facts we have seen. We kept parking closed hoping it would keep outside traffic down and prevent recreational travel in an effort to do our best in supporting Governor Cooper’s orders and protecting our community from this virus. By the observations today, it doesn’t look like that decision worked. We will now have to reassess and decide what we feel is best going forward. We love our tourists and visitors but our little town can only handle so much during this pandemic. As I stated in our last public meeting about a week ago, we are going to open accesses but if people don’t listen we will have to close them again. We are going to have to see what options will be best and be better aligned with what our state officials are advising us to do, while at the same time working and partnering with our neighboring beach towns.”
North Carolina’s stay-at-home order could move into Phase One after May 8th should trends in the coronavirus pandemic satisfy state leaders. Phase one would loosen some restrictions, allowing more businesses to operate, but keep many social distancing requirements in place.