logo L O A D I N G

COVID-19 is receiving considerable media attention at this time. It is imperative that we as a community stay informed and prepared to respond to inquiries from concerned citizens and travelers. Read More

COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak Readiness


Updates From MBACC/MBACVB

March 28, 2020, 9 a.m.

The health and safety of our residents and visitors are paramount and as such, we want to ensure you are fully informed of the impacts of COVID-19 on our area. Twenty-one cases of coronavirus have been identified in Horry County.

To slow the spread of COVID-19 local and state leaders have passed emergency ordinances that impact Grand Strand residents and visitors.

City of Myrtle Beach (Quick Reference Brochure)

All accommodations businesses in the City of Myrtle Beach, including hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies and Airbnb, VRBO style lodging, plus public and private campgrounds:

  • Shall not accept new reservations or extend current reservations for any period prior to May effective immediately (such time limit is subject to further modification), except as indicated below. (See amended order for exemptions.)
  • Existing reservations made for a period beginning Saturday, March 28, 2020, through April 30, 2020, will be rescheduled or canceled. 
  • Those units consistently occupied since March 1, 2020, are exempt from the order but may not be joined by other occupants including friends and family members.
  • All visitors who do not meet the above exemption must vacate the property by noon, Sunday, March 29, 2020. 


All amusements designed to attract and accommodate visitors, are hereby ordered to close effective Friday, March 27, 2020, including but not limited to:

  • Movie and live performance theaters.
  • Golf courses in the City limits (although locals’ play is allowed)
  • Mini golf courses
  • Moped and golf cart rental operations
  • Amusement parks and arcades


 As ensuring public health is a shared responsibility:

  • Residents are requested to continue to wash or sanitize hands frequently, to frequently disinfect home and work surfaces that may lead to the spread of the coronavirus, and to practice even more stringent social distancing procedures. 
  • Businesses that remain open to the public are requested to:
    • Redouble all CDC and DHEC recommended sanitation and disinfection procedures, and to emphasize such procedures to their employees.
    • Establish safe distancing guidelines for all cashier and payment areas to encourage a separation of customers of at least six feet between customers.
    • Enforce six feet separation requirements whenever possible in waiting rooms, lobby areas, and workstations. 
    • Encourage that business be conducted over the telephone or electronically whenever possible. 


Read City of Myrtle Beach Ordinance

On Thursday, March 26, 2020, the Myrtle Beach City Council approved an Emergency Order to halt all short-term accommodations and amusement attractions in Myrtle Beach. Revisions were made to the order on Friday, March 27, 2020. Council's action comes in response to community concerns about the ongoing coronavirus health emergency, with a goal of reducing the chances of transmission from outside areas. To view the amended order, click here.  


City of North Myrtle Beach 
  • The rental and use of short-term rentals, hotels and other overnight accommodations for 29 days or less is suspended beginning 7 a.m. Friday, March 27, 2020, through April 30, 2020. This includes but is not limited to hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies and HOAs, Airbnb, VRBO style lodging, public and private campgrounds and other overnight accommodations. 
  • Visitors currently checked in may remain until the end of their existing reservations. 
  • Exempt: Short-Term Rentals extended to Government, Hospital, Health, Agency, Law Enforcement, Military, and other Critical Personnel actively responding to COVID-19. 
     

Read City of North Myrtle Beach Ordinance
 

Surfside Beach
  • Rental and use of short-term rentals, including, but not limited to hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, inclusive of private management companies and HOA’s, Airbnb, VRBO style lodging, and other overnight accommodations for 29 days or less beginning 11 a.m. Saturday, March 28, 2020, through April 30, 2020, shall be prohibited. Visitors currently checked in may remain until the end of their existing reservations. Exempt: Short-term rentals extended to government, hospital, health agency, law enforcement, military and other critical personnel actively responding to COVID-19.

This ordinance goes into effect at 11 a.m. March 28, not 7 a.m. as originally outlined. An updated copy of the ordinance will be posted soon.

Read Surfside Beach Ordinance
 

Horry County
  • Shorter-term rentals and amusement type activities in the unincorporated areas of Horry County are prohibited from Saturday, March 28, 2020, at 11 a.m. through April 30, 2020.
  • Golf courses are not restricted in the ordinance and are allowed to remain open. Appropriate social distancing is encouraged.
     

Read Horry County Ordinance 
 

Georgetown County
  • New short term rentals in all unincorporated areas of the county beginning at 12 a.m. March 28 and lasting until May 1 are prohibited. This applies to all accommodations businesses in unincorporated areas of the county, including but not limited to condos, hotels, beach houses, Airbnb, campgrounds, hunting cabins and other overnight lodgings. All are prohibited from accepting new reservations for any period of time through the end of April. Any exiting reservations for this time period must be modified or canceled. Visitors currently checked in prior to 12 a.m. March 28 may remain through their existing reservation, but may not extend their stay. Any units consistently occupied by the same occupant since March 1 are exempt, but new occupants including family and friends cannot be added at the unit. Exempt - short-term rentals for applicable health, government, military, law enforcement and other personnel responding to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.
     

Read Georgetown County Ordinance


Pawleys Island
  • No new check-ins are permitted for short-term rentals and other overnight accommodations beginning 5 p.m. Saturday, March 28 through April 30, 2020. Visitors currently checked in may remain until the end of their existing reservations. Long-term rentals of 30 days or more are still permitted by showing a valid lease agreement.
     

Read Pawleys Island Ordinance
 

Myrtle Beach International Airport
  • The Myrtle Beach International Airport and all other airports managed by the Horry County Department of Airports remain open and operational. Horry County Government does not have the authority to make a unilateral decision about the closure of airports. That is under the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration. Airlines can also alter flight schedules. In addition, just like in a hurricane, it is important that the airports remain open for County emergency logistics, including delivery of supplies.
  • Please be advised, as airlines reduce capacity nation-wide, some flight changes or cancellations may result. Travelers should check the status of their flight before arriving at the airport. You can find updated arrival and departure information from MYR on our website. Travelers wishing to change or cancel their itinerary should contact their airlines directly. Contact information for all airlines with service at MYR can be found here. Many airlines are offering fee waivers for changes and cancellations. As a reminder, wait times are estimated to be longer than usual due to increased demand. Some itineraries are eligible to be canceled online; refer to your airlines' website for details.
     
State of South Carolina
  • All restaurants and bars across the state are prohibited from providing dine-in service effective March 18. Outdoor seating is a dine-in service and is prohibited by the governor’s executive order. These establishments may continue to provide curbside pickup, takeout and delivery. Restaurants are allowed to sell sealed containers of beer and wine for curbside pickup or “to-go” orders only. No open containers or delivery services.
  • The State Law Enforcement Division and local law enforcement are dispersing crowds gathered on state beaches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The enforcement order declares that it is unlawful for a person to "congregate, unless authorized or in their homes, in groups of three or more and to refuse to disperse upon order of a law enforcement officer."
  • All South Carolina state parks are closed effective Saturday, March 28 through April 30, 2020. This includes day-use areas such as picnic grounds, lakefronts and trails. Visitors currently occupying campsites and cabins may remain through the duration of their rental reservation as long as they continue practicing social distancing. All new reservation arrivals between March 28 and April 30 will be canceled and refunds issued.


COVID-19 remains a rapidly evolving situation. We will continue posting updates here and on our social channels to keep you updated until this situation is resolved. Many businesses remain open at this time, but as this situation remains fluid, we recommend you contact individual businesses for the latest accurate information.

We urge you to continue following the recommendations of the federal government, CDC, SCDHEC and local officials as we navigate these uncertain times together. Be safe. Be calm. Be responsible. Be #MyrtleBeachStrong.


Live Webinars

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber wants to continue to support local businesses during these times of uncertainty. We've partnered with industry experts to host webinars for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

If you can't catch these webinars live, we will share a link to the recordings on our social media and website. 

March 30, 10:30 a.m. - Managing the Now & Preparing for the Future - Join NP Strategy for a COVID-19 conversation about best business practices during a pandemic. Register for the webinar here

March 31, 11:30 a.m. - Managing Your Workforce During the Pandemic - Join Nexsen Pruet for an informative look at the distinctions between layoffs, furloughs and terminations; implications under the CARES Act for small businesses; extended leave and paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Register for the webinar here

April 4, 11 a.m. – Tax Update - Join us for a webinar with Samantha Slapnik of Liberty Tax to learn about the extension of this year's tax filing season as well as the latest on the stimulus checks and how those are calculated. Register for the webinar here

Planning for Coronavirus - MBACC Business Impact Planning Forum

This was streamed live March 16, 2020, to help businesses prepare for impacts from COVID-19.
 

 
MBACC Legislative Update
on COVID-19

This was streamed live on March 19, 2020, to share the latest legislative response to
COVID-19.

Horry County Update

Horry County is in close communication with our partners at local, state and national levels and are monitoring the situation closely. We will continue to follow the latest guidance offered by leading health authorities. We urge travelers to follow the CDC for guidance on international travel and follow best health practices such as good health hygiene, proper handwashing, and consulting with a doctor about any personal health concerns.  

Community Updates


Coronavirus/COVID-19 Impact Survey

In an effort to gain an accurate and ongoing assessment of COVID-19's impact to the Myrtle Beach area's business and tourism community, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber/CVB is deploying this survey weekly and asking businesses to provide regular updates.  

Take Survey


Legislative Response to COVID-19

Overview of Senate COVID-19 Phase III Spending Package

The U.S. Senate voted overnight to pass the CARES Act (COVID-19 Phase III bill) by a vote of 96-0.  The bill now heads to the House where Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer have vowed to give their members 24 hours to review the legislation. A vote could happen as early as Friday morning. Highlights include:

  • $377 in loans and loan forgiveness for small travel businesses;
  • $454 billion in federally backed financial assistance for impacted businesses;
    • When you add these two together, it’s nearly $1 trillion in direct business relief;
  • Tax relief for small businesses to navigate these choppy waters;
  • Unprecedented unemployment insurance relief;
  • And yes, some folks will be receiving $1,200 checks from the federal government in as soon as three weeks.
     

Senate Bill Highlights COVID-19
 

Q&A on Legislative Response to COVID-19

Our state and federal governments are introducing legislation in response to COVID-19. To help you understand the changes being enacted by our legislators, our director of government affairs, Jimmy Gray, breaks them down for you in this update. Topics include:

  • Approval of Governor McMaster’s emergency request for $45 million to the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
  • Extension of state tax returns and payment due date.
  • Gov. McMaster’s request for permission for businesses in South Carolina to apply for small business loans.
  • Information about H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Read the Complete Document


History of the Coronavirus 

The outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, now named COVID-19, began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The outbreak continues to spread from person to person in China, with some person-to-person transmissions reported in other countries, including the United States. Public health authorities learn more every day about this new illness and health threat. 

Symptoms of the Coronavirus

Coronavirus infection in humans can result in respiratory illness ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. The symptoms are similar to those caused by other respiratory viruses, such as the flu, and include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. 

The virus is spread by direct contact with respiratory droplets that are sneezed or coughed from people who are ill. At this time, there is no specific treatment for the illness. Instead, treatment involves supportive care for symptoms. Efforts are underway to develop a vaccine. 

We are seeing widespread transmission of flu in South Carolina and the United States. The risk for exposure to the flu is high, and the risk of complications and deaths from the flu are a far greater public health threat than COVID-19 in the United States at this time. 

Fast Facts About COVID-19

  • DHEC is closely monitoring a rapidly emerging outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). DHEC is investigating multiple cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in South Carolina.
  • The risk of getting COVID-19 in the U.S. is currently low.
  • Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of race or ethnicity. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American.
  • Someone who has completed quarantine or has been released from isolation does not pose a risk of infection to other people.
  • You can help stop the spread of the virus by knowing the signs and symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath. If you develop these symptoms AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or who has recently traveled from an affected area, seek medical advice. For the safety of others, call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms.


Practice Good Health Hygiene

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • MBACC Good Health Hygiene Flyer – Tips to stay healthy.
     

Hotlines for People With Symptoms

  • DHEC Care Line > 1-855-472-3432
    If you have general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Staff is answering calls from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week. In the event of an emergency, please call 9-1-1.
  • Several South Carolina health systems are offering telehealth options to the public. These options are available to anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in South Carolina. In order to access the free consult, use the promo code COVID19.
  • Grand Strand Health is offering a Consult-A-Nurse line for any COVID questions, staffed 24/7 by nurses. Call 843-692-4444. 
  • Conway Medical Center is offering a phone line where you can speak with a medical professional for a screening for COVID-19. Call 843-428-8767 Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. to speak with a registered nurse.


Learn More About COVID-19 

Information about this new illness is still developing, but be aware of the “infodemic” which often accompanies such a topic. False information already exists online about the coronavirus, so stick to reliable websites for your information and updates. Here are several sites to consider.

  • SCDHEC – This page is updated regularly as information becomes available. 
  • CDC - Learn about COVID-19, situation updates and how to protect yourself and your community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus disease. 
  • World Health Organization, Coronavirus – Information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus, including daily updates.
     

Maps of COVID-19 Cases


Tools for Your Business


Financial Assistance for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-​​​​​​19

  • SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to South Carolina Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus  – SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. 
  • Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program – This pilot program allows SBA Express Lenders authority to deliver expedited SBA-guaranteed financing on an emergency basis for disaster-related purposes to eligible small businesses, while the small businesses apply for and await long-term financing.
  • Access to Capital – SBA provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. Visit SBA for more information on loans or how to connect with a lender. How to get access to lending partners? SBA has developed Lender Match, a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders within 48 hours.
  • Facebook Small Business Grants Program – Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits. 
     

HR Resources


Frequently Asked Questions

  • J1 Program Update – Myrtle Beach Area CVB has received several questions about the potential impacts of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, on the J1 program this summer. Read about a few things we want you to know about this important program. 
  • S.C. Taxpayer Services – Learn more about the S.C Department of Revenue tax relief on their Q&A page.
  • IRS – Tax Day is now July 15.
  • S.C.Department of Health and Environmental Control answers frequently asked questions.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention answers frequently asked questions.
  • Q. COVID-19 and Food Safety FAQ - Is Coronavirus a Concern With Takeout?
    A. At this time, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. The FAQs are based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food & Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Download a Copy of the FAQ
  • Q. Will my hotel offer refunds?
    A. As cancellation and refund policies vary by business, you should contact the business you booked with directly for their latest policies and options. Many businesses are reviewing their policies and making them more flexible to accommodate changing travel plans, such as allowing people to rebook later.
  • Q. My hotel won’t give me a refund for my planned travel. Can the chamber force them to give me a refund? What should I do?
    A. Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has no authority to force a business to provide a refund. However, if the business in question is a member of our organization, we will contact them and suggest they offer flexibility during these uncertain times.
  • Q Can I stay at my second home or deeded timeshare property?
    A. Yes, if you own a second home you may stay in it. Ownership is not included in the ordinances. However, you cannot invite other family or friends or rent out your property.
    No, if you have a Right-To-Use timeshare which gives you the right to vacation at the property but without deeded ownership. That is perceived as a short-term rental and is prohibited through April 30.
  • Q. I booked my reservation through VRBO or Airbnb and they won’t give me a refund. What should I do?
    A. If you booked your resort or condo property reservation through a third party booking engine, including but not limited to Airbnb and VRBO, the cancellation policies for your reservation are determined by the individual owner of that unit, not the third party booking engine or the resort or condo. It is up to the owner of that unit, not the third-party booking engine or condo/resort, to make considerations for changes to their cancellation policy. We regret that we are not able to assist with these situations as we aren’t privy to the owner’s information and have no jurisdiction over their business policies. This applies to the condo/resort property management as well. The third-party booking engine may be able to help you contact the owner for consideration as they maintain those contact details and communications.
    Q. I heard the City of Myrtle Beach relaxed signage rules because of COVID-19. Does this apply to my business?
    A. The City of Myrtle Beach relaxed signage rules for restaurants after the governor prohibited dine-in service. Signage rules for businesses not directly affected by the governor’s order have not changed.
     

From the Desk of Karen Riordan

  • March 11, 2020 – Grand Strand update and actions the chamber is taking to assist the community
  • March 19, 2020 – The unprecedented public health crisis we’re facing right now has already had a substantial impact on these businesses’ bottom lines and employees’ pocketbooks.
  • March 24, 2020 – When times of uncertainty affect our area, MBACC is there as a resource for our business and hospitality partners.
     

Additional Resources

  • Grand Strand Health – With COVID-19, the safety of Grand Strand Medical Center patients and visitors remains their top priority. They regularly treat patients with infectious diseases and our clinical teams are highly trained in infection prevention protocols. 
  • Tidelands Health – At Tidelands Health, their top priority is the health and well-being of our patients, team members and the community. They routinely care for individuals with potentially infectious illnesses and have rigorous infection prevention processes and protocols in place. 
  • Allergies vs. Coronavirus: Here's How to Tell the Difference – What are seasonal allergy symptoms and how do they differ from coronavirus symptoms? 
  • Be Aware of Scammers – Scammers follow the headlines and often take advantage of events such as these. Be vigilant if you receive something that seems out of the ordinary.
  • Tips for Cleaning Your Cellular Phones – Here's a look at how you can clean your phone safely without damaging its screen or internal components.
    • Avoid using aerosol sprays and bleaches, and don't spray cleaner directly onto your smartphone. Instead, use a Clorox wipe or isopropyl alcohol wipe.
    • Using a soft, lightly-dampened microfiber cloth is also considered safe.
    • If you're using a case on your phone, try cleaning that in addition to or instead of your device.
    • And of course, keeping your hands clean can go a long way.
       

Ways to Help/Relief Assistance

  • American Red Cross: Urgent need for blood donations due to COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • 211 One-stop resource for finding assistance. This resource run by United Way is available 24/7 by calling 211 or by visiting them online at sc211.org. Nonprofits – if you are open and giving assistance, please let 211 know or if you are no longer operating or providing specific assistance, please let 211 know.
  • Waccamaw Community Foundation – Accepting donations, grant applications for COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund
  • Nonprofits/Businesses Helping the Community – These organizations are helping in the COVID-19 relief.
Promote Promote

PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS IN A POWERFUL WAY!

Sponsorship provides our investors the opportunity for recognition and publicity. For some events, sponsorship will also include tickets to the event, the opportunity to speak to attendees or to distribute promotional items. Check out the Investment and Sponsorship Program and stretch your marketing budget. 

Advertisement
March 28, 2020

Restaurants Offering Curbside Pickup, Takeout, Delivery

Restaurants are providing takeout, delivery and curbside pickup during the coronavirus outbreak.

March 28, 2020

Closures and Cancellations

Stay updated on event cancellations and business closures in the Grand Strand because of the coronavirus.