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Coronavirus Advisory

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EMERGENCY RESPONSE:  CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
UPDATED:  8:00 P.M., FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2020

NOTE:  FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE THE MYRTLE BEACH CITY GOVERNMENT FACEBOOK PAGE.

OVERVIEW

Your health and safety are our top priority!  Senior staff and the emergency management team for the City of Myrtle Beach are meeting to assess and update the situation in light of the reported cases of coronavirus in Horry County.  The city looks to state and federal leadership regarding restrictions and guidance, and we are taking the necessary health precautions to make sure that everyone is safe.  Please continue to practice safe habits and limit contact with others.  Updates to the information below are likely.

As of May 29, 2020, city personnel continue daily operations.  City team members practice social distancing and take the necessary health precautions to ensure a clean and safe work environment.  
The City of Myrtle Beach has implemented both a hiring freeze and a spending freeze during this emergency period.  New personnel positions will be filled if deemed critical to the city's operation.  Any new spending is curtailed and must be specifically authorized.   

INFORMATION

Do you have city-related coronavirus questions?  Call 843-918-1000.  The telephone line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

FIND COVID-19 FILES ONLINE

Here are links to the related COVID-19 files....

PUBLIC BEACH ACCESSES 

Effective immediately, public beach accesses are open. Beachgoers must abide by strict social distancing practices.  The beach will be policed to enforce these safety measures.  

Public Beach Access Parking Lots...  Public beach access parking  protocol resumes, with paid parking enforced for vehicles without a City of Myrtle Beach residential parking decal.  To learn more, visit the following webpages....

SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDERS

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster's executive orders are listed below.  These actions slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect the state's residents.  To view all of Governor McMaster's executive orders, click here.

MODIFICATION OF EMERGENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR RETAIL STORES AND BEACH ACCESS CLOSURE
On Monday, April 20, the governor announced the beach access closure order will expire at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21.  Local jurisdictions' decision-making bodies will now decide the appropriate actions to take regarding public beach access.  Also, smaller retail businesses are allowed to reopen at 5:00 p.m. today (examples:  furniture, sporting goods, craft, flea market, etc.).  Merchants must adhere to six-feet social distancing rules and the restrictions set forth for "big box" stores, which includes one of the following (whichever is less):
 
  • 20% occupancy can be in-store
  • five customers per 1,000 square feet
As a reminder, all law enforcement officials have the right to disperse gathers of three or more individuals.  The rule applies to both closed and open spaces, including beaches.  No decisions have been made on when schools will reopen.

CLOSURE OF STATE'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS
On April 22, the governor announced that public schools would remain closed through the end of the school year.  Instruction continues, but buildings remain closed.  For more information, see https://ed.sc.gov/.

EMERGENCY ORDER EXTENDED
On April 27, Governor McMaster signed Executive Order 2020-29 to extend the State of Emergency for South Carolina.  The order extends the previous declaration an additional 15 days.

"WORK OR HOME" ORDER LIFTED, OTHERS AMENDED
On May 1, Governor McMaster signed Executive Orders 2020-30 and 2020-31, which lifted the "Work or Home" restriction immediately and allowed restaurants to provide outdoor dining service effective Monday, May 4.   The governor also lifted the restriction on visitors to South Carolina from the Tri-State Area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut).  

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES “CONTACT TRACING” & INCREASED TESTING EFFORTS
On Wednesday, May 6, Governor McMaster announced increased testing and enhanced “contact tracing” efforts statewide through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).  The increased testing will produce higher COVID-19 numbers for the state.  However, the McMaster asserted that the public should continue to take precautionary measures, including social distancing.

What is a “contact tracer?” A contact tracer forms a relationship with a COVID-19 positive individual.  The tracer provides important information about care, food services available in the area and asks about recent interactions with others.  The information provided helps the SCDHEC notify those who may be at risk for coronavirus to help contain spread of the virus.

GOVERNOR TO ALLOW INDOOR DINING SERVICES WITH LIMITATIONS
On Friday, May 8, Governor Henry McMaster lifted all restrictions regarding boats and waterways, effective immediately.  McMaster also announced that indoor dining is allowed beginning Monday, May 11, with the following conditions:

  • Seating limited to up to 50% of the Certificate of Occupancy issued by Fire Marshal.
  • Enhanced sanitation efforts to maintain cleanliness of chairs, tables, doorknobs and all touchable surfaces.
  • Businesses are asked to post hand sanitizer stations at entry points.
  • Table condiments should be removed from table and provided upon request.
  • Cleaning supplies must include single-use paper products, such as paper towels.
  • Tables must be spaced six to eight feet apart to keep diners six feet apart.
  • No more than eight customers at each table.

It is important to note that police agencies have the authority to arrest and criminally charge individuals who pose a threat to public safety by not observing social distancing measures (three or more).  Locations include dining establishments, boats, waterways, stores and all public spaces.

CLOSE CONTACT SERVICES TO RESUME WITH LIMITATIONS ON MAY 18
Governor Henry McMaster announced that close-contact service providers, fitness and exercise centers, commercial gyms and public or commercial swimming pools will be able to open in a limited capacity on Monday, May 18.  Close contact service providers include barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons and spas, body-art facilities and tattoo services, tanning salons, massage-therapy establishments and massage services.  Commercial gyms will include group exercise facilities such as yoga studios, barre classes and others.   Amusements, theaters and a few other business types are still prevented from operating.   

The state has developed
 general guidelines for close contact service providers, along with specific guidelines for cosmetology establishmentsgyms and fitness centers, and public or commercial poolsThese include, but are not limited to: 

  • Guidance on social distancing within businesses, including recommended capacity requirements
  • Additional cleaning and sanitizing guidelines for equipment, tables, chairs, etc.
  • Additional guidance on health checks for employees
  • Additional guidance on training for employees
GOVERNOR REOPENS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS EFFECTIVE MAY 22
On May 20, Governor Henry McMaster announced that attractions are permitted to reopen beginning Friday, May 22.   He also lifted restrictions on youth and adult recreational sports, effective May 30.

FREE ONLINE GUIDES FOR REOPENING BUSINESSES

Short Term Rental Businesses...  In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals (VRHP) and the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) have compiled a list of recommended practices to ensure rigorous sanitization and disinfection protocols.  To view the free resource, click here.

Independent Retail Businesses...  Are you an independent retailer with concerns about how to reopen due to COVID-19?  If so, &Access offers a free, helpful guide regarding store re-openings and safety precautions.  To view the file, click here.

FINANCIAL RELIEF FOR CITY RESIDENTS & BUSINESSES

In April 2020, the Myrtle Beach City Council approved three emergency orders designed to provide financial relief to city residents and businesses during the extended coronavirus health emergency.  

Water Services...  Previously, the city had suspended water service shut-offs for non-payment reasons during the emergency.  The new orders waive late fees for utility bill payments.  Call 843-918-1212 or email mbutilpay@cityofmyrtlebeach.com for information.  

Recreation Services...  The order also grants extensions for recreation center memberships due to the recreation centers’ closures.

Hospitality and Accommodations Fees...  For businesses, the new orders waive late fees for payments of Hospitality or Accommodations Fees or taxes.  The payments due on April 20 and May 20 can be submitted without late penalties on or before June 20, 2020.  Call 843-918-1200 or email buslic@cityofmyrtlebeach.com for information.

Business Licenses...  The City of Myrtle Beach will accept business license payments without penalty on or before June 30, 2020.  Business license renewals and payments are due by April 30.  However, recognizing the economic impact of COVID-19, City Council has waived any penalty for payments received as late as June 30.  Businesses affected by government orders related to the COVID-19 emergency may request an emergency extension for the 2020-21 license year.  All such emergency payment plan requests must be made in writing on forms supplied for that purpose.  Additional information, including a full explanation of “affected by government orders,” is available on the Documents Center webpage in the Business License Division folder.  Questions?  Call 843-918-1200 or email buslic@cityofmyrtlebeach.com

CITY FACILITIES, MEETINGS & EVENTS

FACILITIES
Many Myrtle Beach city parks and facilities are open...  Social distancing signage posted reminds visitors to maintain at least six feet of space.  Below is the tentative reopening schedule for the remaining facilities.  The majority these facilities and activities are under the effects of Governor McMaster’s orders.  This list is subject to change.

Open Facilities...

  • All Parks
  • City Hall
  • Matt Hughes Skate Park
  • Midway Park (Basketball activities are not permitted per the governor’s orders.)
  • Municipal Court
  • Myrtle Beach Tennis Center
  • Myrtle’s Market
  • Outdoor Pickleball Courts
  • Outdoor Tennis Courts
  • Public Works Administration Building
  • Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center

Monday, June 1, 2020...

  • Ashley Booth Field (Public Enjoyment Only)
  • Cabana Section Outdoor Exercise Equipment
  • City Services Building (Pending Installation of Lobby Modifications)
  • Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium (Public Enjoyment Only)
  • Chapin Memorial Library (Revised Hours, Protocols)
  • Grand Park Lake Outdoor Exercise Equipment
  • Myrtle Beach Convention Center
  • Myrtle Beach Sports Center
  • Ned Donkle Field Complex
  • Playgrounds and Picnic Shelters

Monday, June 15, 2020...

  • Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium (Members Only – Revised Hours, Protocols)
  • Mary C. Canty Recreation Center (Members Only – Revised Hours, Protocols)
  • Pepper Geddings Recreation Center (Members Only – Revised Hours, Protocols)
  • Sports Tourism Baseball/Softball Activities (Practice is allowed per the governor’s orders beginning May 30.)

Awaiting Clarification/TBD...

  • All Indoor/Outdoor Basketball Activities
  • General Robert H. Reed Recreation Center
  • Grand Park Soccer Field and Hockey Rink
  • Midway Park Outdoor Basketball Courts
  • Pepper Geddings Recreation Center Outdoor Courts
  • Myrtle Beach Train Depot (Closed to Rentals)

Chapin Memorial Library will reopen with revised service hours on June 1, 2020...  The library’s zero contact pickup service will be available and encouraged.  Virtual programs will continue through the Chapin Memorial Library YouTube channel.  City personnel will maintain reduced capacity limits.  Questions?  Call 843-918-1275.  New facility hours are, as follows:

Monday through Thursday – 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday – 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday – 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday – Closed

On June 15, Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium, Mary C. Canty Recreation Center and Pepper Geddings Recreation Center will reopen to members with revised hours...  The reopening applies to the facilities’ weight rooms, cardio rooms and indoor track.  Members are limited to 30-minute workouts.  Basketball courts remain closed.  City personnel will maintain reduced capacity limits.  Showers will not be available for use, and pools will remain closed.  Exercise classes will not yet resume; however, virtual classes will continue through the City of Myrtle Beach – Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism YouTube channel.  Recreation membership dues have been suspended until mid-August.  New facility hours are, as follows:

Monday through Friday – 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday – 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

MEETINGS
Announcements about meetings and events for subsequent weeks will be provided in a timely manner to Friday Fax email recipients.  To sign up,  fill out the simple Sign Up Form at the bottom of the Friday Fax webpage.  Or, see our Meeting Schedule webpage.

EVENTS
To see a list of events, visit the city's
 Events webpage.  For a helpful list of links to online e-resources, see our new E-Resources webpage

SERVICES & UPDATED PROTOCOLS

Here's a helpful list of city services, with information regarding the city's updated protocols....

Chapin Memorial Library

Myrtle Beach’s Chapin Memorial Library now offers “zero contact” pickup service.  Library patrons can request items by either placing holds online through their account or by calling 843-918-1275. This service is available by appointment, Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., while the library is closed to the public.  Once your appointment is scheduled, the library staff will provide instructions for “zero contact” pickup.  Items cannot be released without making an appointment, so remember to schedule ahead!  We have a 10-item limit per household for this service.  For more information, visit https://www.chapinlibrary.org/

Police, Fire & EMS Services
Police, Fire and EMS services continue, and the Police and Fire Departments will respond to emergency events.  Our 911 dispatchers are pre-screening emergency calls to determine whether any respiratory distress is involved.  For non-emergency calls and routine reports, call the Police Department's non-emergency dispatch line at 843-918-1382.  Or, visit the Police Department’s P2C website to report an incident.  Myrtle Beach police officers are still conducting patrols.  The beach wheelchair service and fingerprinting services are both suspended until further notice.

Utility Services
The city’s water system is safe, thanks to the treatment and disinfectant processes.  Water service will continue without interruption.  New water service applications and water service termination requests can be processed via phone, email or the drive-through service window.  Call 843-918-1212 or email mbutilpay@cityofmyrtlebeach.com for information
.  Or, water service application forms and payment envelopes are also available for pick-up in the vestibule of the City Services Building, 921 North Oak Street.

Utility Payments
Remember, utility payment drop boxes are available at the City Services Building, 921 North Oak Street.  Payments and paperwork deposited into the night drop boxes will be processed after 48 hours.  The city's drive-through service window is also open.  You also may pay utility bills online.  See the links below for more information.  We will suspend water cutoffs during this emergency period.  Questions?  Call 843-918-1212 or send an email to mbutilpay@cityofmyrtlebeach.com for information.

Solid Waste Collection
Solid waste services will be on their usual schedule this week.

Business Licenses

Business license application forms are available for pick-up in the vestibule of the City Services Building, 921 North Oak Street.  Questions?  Call 843-918-1200 or email buslic@cityofmyrtlebeach.com

Building Permits
The Construction Services Department is issuing building permits via email or fax.  If customers do not wish to submit new construction plans or plans revisions digitally, the documents can be delivered to the drop box of the Construction Services Building, 921 North Oak Street.  Note that any paperwork, plans, or plan revisions that are dropped off will not be processed or reviewed for at least 48 hours from the time it is dropped off.  City employees continue to perform inspections on all permitted projects.  Questions?  Call 843-918-1111.


Recreation Centers & Services
With the recent closure of recreation centers and rental facilities, the city understands the negative effects on patrons who have financially invested in these services.  In the near future, the city plans to make the appropriate adjustments to those who have paid memberships, league fees and facility rentals to correct this issue. 

SIGNAGE FLEXIBILITY FOR IN-CITY RESTAURANTS

The City of Myrtle Beach is giving restaurants more flexibility for additional signs and tents during the coronavirus emergency.  The governor ordered restaurants to stop “dining in,” but allowed them to provide “take-out” and “to-go” service.  On March 18, 2020, City Manager John Pedersen has signed an order allowing temporary signage and operational rules to help restaurants cope, effective immediately.  The order will remain in effect until modified or rescinded by a subsequent order or until City Council has approved the end of the Civil Emergency.  The temporary special operational rules and procedures for restaurants inside the City of Myrtle Beach are:

  1. Notwithstanding other zoning regulations governing signs, the following temporary signage is allowed:
    • Temporary freestanding signage not to exceed 32 square feet total, which may include banners and “A” frame signs.
    • May have up to four temporary directional signs not to exceed four (4) square feet each.
    • Temporary wall signage not to exceed 32 square feet total.
    • Balloons are prohibited.
    • Through end of Sunday, March 29, 2020, the use of restaurant “mascots” is permitted.  This provision may be extended on a week-by-week basis thereafter.
  1. Restaurants may have up to three temporary tents, not to exceed 300 square feet in total.
  1. Sign/tent placement:
    • Any temporary tents and/or signage may only be placed on the property in which the restaurant is located unless such property has a zero front setback.
    • Signs may not be placed in a public right of way unless the restaurant has a zero lot line.  In such cases, the restaurant may submit a site plan showing the placement of signage only (no tents) on the adjacent sidewalk.  The plan must maintain a minimum of four feet clear passage so as not to obstruct pedestrian use of the sidewalk. In such instances signage is limited to eight square feet in the public rights-of-way.  Such cases must be specifically approved by the City Manager and shall include an assumption of liability by the restaurant for any claims arising from the placement of signage in the rights-of-way.
    • Signs may not be placed in such a way to cause a sight hazard (subject to the city’s sole determination).
  1. Public parking spaces may be temporarily designated and/or marked for the following uses:
    • Curbside Pickup
    • Delivery
  1. The temporary rules and procedures above are subject to modification, in whole or in part, upon public notice thereof.

WAYS TO HELP

In response to a request from the public, we've created a Ways to Help List during the COVID-19 health emergency.   The webpage offers a number of ways that our residents and businesses can reach out to support others in the area who are struggling with the economic effects created by this issue. 

MYRTLE BEACH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Although the airport is located within the city limits of Myrtle Beach, the city does NOT own, operate or have jurisdiction over airport activities.  For information, visit Myrtle Beach International Airport's website at https://www.flymyrtlebeach.com and http://www.flymyrtlebeach.com/coronavirus/

PRICE GOUGING IN SOUTH CAROLINA

The South Carolina Price Gouging Law is in effect.  The law protects against price gouging and scams, namely the action or attempted action of renting or selling a commodity at “an unconscionable price.”  To learn more, click here.  To report price gouging, send an email with supporting documentation and contact information to the South Carolina Attorney General at pricegouging@scag.govOr, call 803-737-3953.

DO YOUR PART:  “FOLLOW THE FIVE” AND HELP SAVE LIVES

Hands

The coronavirus illness is more severe among the elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions and compromised immune systems.  However, public health is a shared responsibility!  Follow the five steps below to ensure we protect our community, state and country from the coronavirus.

  1. Keep yourself healthy…  The best defense against respiratory illness – the common cold, flu or the coronavirus – is to keep yourself healthy.  Practice cleanliness, stay hydrated and eat healthy foods that contain Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
  2. Feeling unwell?  Stay home!  Keep away from others and contact your healthcare provider immediately to receive instructions.
  3. Care for your hands and face…  Wash your hands, and often, for 20 seconds with warm water and soap.  Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.  Do not touch your face!  And, disinfect surfaces touched within your home and work space as often as possible, including all electronic devices!
  4. Cover coughs and sneezes…  Always cough or sneeze into an elbow, and immediately sanitize the area affected.  When possible, cough or sneeze into tissues and discard in secure trash can straightaway.
  5. Distance yourself from others…  Maintain a distance of six feet, or more.  Avoid public places by ordering take out foods and utilize pick-up grocery services.

COVID-19 INFO & HELPFUL LINKS

What are the symptoms of this disease?  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. 

How does the virus spread?  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.  Currently, it is thought that the novel coronavirus virus spreads from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet).  Based on other coronaviruses, symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after someone is exposed. 

Choose information sources wisely...  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.