Carolina Beach considering soft opening of beach on Monday

File photo of beach (Photo: WWAY)

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The Town of Carolina Beach could become the next beach to open to the public.

In an interview with the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Leann Pierce said there could be a “soft opening” on Monday, however town staff is still working out the details.

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Pierce said parking lots would remain closed, beach accesses open for exercising, no sunbathing or umbrellas allowed.

“That’s something, been a lot of controversy about it, and we have to start opening at some point. You heard me last week, we want to do it softly, so this is what we consider a soft opening. we’re at that time and we’ve got to start moving forward.”

Governor Roy Cooper’s stay at home order is scheduled to expire on the 29th, unless it is extended. Pierce said if he does extend it, Carolina Beach will still allow a soft opening, allowing exercise only while implementing social distancing. Once a decision is made regarding the governor’s stay at home order is when Carolina Beach will also tackle the topic of short term rentals.

The town said the budget is going to be hugely impacted this year. The room occupancy tax is taking a hit right now because short-term rentals are prohibited. Pierce said the town is also not generating any sales tax.

“We are cutting the budget this year. We are looking only at essential needs that the town has. We will be on a tight budget this year,” Pierce said.

Pierce said summer events could also be affected this  year, but it’s too early to say in what way.

“Be patient, we are doing the best we can do. Your town and your council and your staff are working diligently along with your chamber to get us back to some sense of normalcy. and we just need you to be paitent and know that we are working on this and want to get back to everything just like you do,” Pierce said in a message to residents.

A Video Message from Carolina Beach Mayor LeAnn Pierce (4-22-20)

Posted by Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce also spoke to Kure Beach Mayor, Craig Bloszinsky, about the possibility of reopening the beach.