Effort From Everyone Will Keep the Grand Strand Grand
Places don’t spread viruses, people do.
It has been disheartening to see recent news stories reporting our Grand Strand area as one of the United States’ hottest spots for COVID-19. For decades, the Myrtle Beach area has been a beloved tourism destination, serving hospitality and generating family memories on 60 miles of beaches and hundreds of family attractions, golf courses and restaurants. And while we’re grateful that so many have visited our beautiful beaches since reopening, it’s clear that not everyone has taken the necessary precautions to protect themselves or others while visiting. Now unfortunately, the popular question is “Who’s to blame for COVID-19?” Stories of large groups of young people gathering in close proximity without following health and safety guidelines have been highlighted in these reports, but we’re not assigning blame.
It is not possible to know where the COVID-19 cases highlighted in these reports originated or if the individuals were already infected with the virus before traveling to our area. What we do know is that it is imperative we all do more to educate and encourage people to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others. Recent health and safety action steps taken by our local community include:
• Greater Grand Strand Promise
– Community leaders in the Grand Strand area worked together to develop this public commitment that businesses and individuals are making to do their part to limit the spread of the virus and protect the safety and well-being of everyone, including residents and visitors. This initiative launched June 17 and so far more than 300 businesses have made the promise. greatergrandstrandisopen.com
• Mask Mandates
– In early July, many of our local municipalities, including the cities of Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Horry County mandated wearing a face covering while in public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. Masks are not required on the beaches, but of course social distancing is still necessary. You can find out more information about visiting our area safely and responsibly on the healthy travel page of visitmyrtlebeach.com
• Free Testing – SCDHEC has partnered with Tidelands Health and other health care providers to offer a large-scale testing program in our region. Free testing events are scheduled at convenient sites throughout the area. These events allow anyone to be tested without a physician referral and without symptoms. Large-scale community testing helps identify positive cases before symptoms begin, which allows affected individuals to self-isolate, helping slow the spread.
As you can see, we are taking steps to help ensure residents and visitors can safely enjoy the Myrtle Beach area. But these actions listed above require participation from each of us. Our businesses and residents are working hard to help offer a safe environment for everyone, and we’re asking visitors to do their part by visiting responsibly. This might be the biggest challenge. It’s not always easy to deny yourself and act for the benefit of another, but we don’t have any other options. Our residents rely on a safe place to live, our economy depends on tourism. We need your help to keep the Grand Strand Grand. Please, wear a mask when in public spaces, wash your hands frequently and continue to practice social distancing. This virus remains a very real public health threat and it is up to each of us to do our part to stop the spread whether we’re at home or traveling.