Mayor: Public parking to reopen in Surf City with hopes to spread out beach crowds

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SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — The warm weather pulled people outside over the weekend to soak up the sun, but Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin says things were a little too crowded there.

“Oh god, yesterday was terrible,” beach goer Hala Elaawar said.

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Elaawar says the beach was quite a bit calmer Monday, than it was over the weekend.

“I was just shocked about how many people were on the beach, but they kept coming for hours, and I was like I don’t know where they’re going to put them,” Surf City resident Arness Krause said.

Medlin took a look for himself over the weekend, as he and Surf City Police patrolled the beach. He says people were everywhere.

“It was crowded,” Medlin said. ​”I mean, they just showed up in bunches.”

Medlin called the scene “a mess”, saying he would normally be excited to see the crowds, but right now it worries him.

“We kept our parking closed, and the reason we had closed parking is because we thought that would cut down on the number of people coming, but it didn’t,” he said.

Because the public parking lots were closed, Medlin says people were just parking on the side of the road near the center of town.

With the help of the police department, Medlin says they’ve decided to open public parking lots Friday.

“And we felt like maybe opening the parking up would space them out a little more,” he said.

Medlin says he hopes people will spread out more on the beach strand. He says they have no plans right now to put more restrictions back in place, but they’ll take things day by day.

A lot of residents and beach goers think people can still come to the beach and abide by the distancing rules.

“I hope we don’t close the beaches, but I do hope people use common sense when they come out here,” Krause said.

The town reminds everyone social distancing rules still apply even out on the beach.

There is no word yet on the reopening of short-term rentals. Medlin says they are waiting to see if Governor Cooper moves forward with Phase 1 of reopening, and hopes to make an announcement on short-term rental by Friday.