SUNSET BEACH, NC (WWAY) — You will soon no longer be allowed on the beach in Sunset Beach, according to a release by the town Monday morning.
Starting Tuesday, the beach strand and all beach accesses will be closed. The town park will be closed. Also, long and short-term rentals will be prohibited.
“We have completely closed our beach down so hopefully it will sort of eliminate some of the traffic that we’ve been getting,” said Sunset Beach Mayor Shannon Phillips.
The move comes two weeks after the town declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we don’t take extra precautions now, we may not have a summer,” said Sunset Beach Police Chief Ken Klamar.
Mayor Phillips and Police Chief Klamar say the additional restrictions are necessary in order to protect the citizens of Sunset Beach from COVID-19.
“The reasons that these changes were made here in the town was because people were not complying with the order,” Klamar said. “I, like the mayor, I want to go to the beach, my family wants to go to the beach. We’re not doing that right now.”
Sunset Beach now joins New Hanover County, Oak Island, and Surf City who have already closed their beaches in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, their short-term rental policy was slightly different than those before it.
“People that are already in place, that are doing rentals whether it’s permanent homes, whatever, they’re fine,” Phillips said. “It’s the new rentals that’s coming in, we’re just trying to discourage people from coming here right now.”
Unlike surrounding beach towns, those arriving up until midnight Tuesday will not be asked to leave and instead are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“What we’re hoping for is that we can get voluntary compliance from everybody in town and everybody who wants to visit Sunset Beach,” Klamar said.
The new restrictions also go into effect midnight Tuesday. People who own vacation homes in town are also being asked not to come.
Anyone caught violating the additional restrictions will be subject to a Class II misdemeanor.
Read the town’s full amendment here.