MYRTLE BEACH, SC – As some states blame the COVID-19 outbreaks in Myrtle Beach, travel officials say it’s all proof that the virus hasn’t left us, and personal responsibility is an important part of staying healthy.
COVID-19 cases related to Myrtle Beach in West Virginia topped 80 on Wednesday. The cases are documented in Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Preston, Kanawha, Putnam, Greenbrier, Raleigh, Ritchie, Taylor and Mercer counties.
Governor Jim Justice urged state residents this week to “think twice” about traveling there. Justice is also encouraging residents to get tested when they return.
Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer Mark Kruea told MetroNews on Thursday that the city has instructed hospitality workers, installed signs to encourage masks and social distancing, and used local media to repeat the message over and over again.
“One of the questions we have is if visitors from other states are practicing safe social distancing, were they wearing masks when they were here?” Kruea said. “We are certainly recommending that, not only for our residents but also for our staff and industries.”
Kruea said that despite messages on multiple platforms to follow the guidelines, media polls show that many beach goers are not exercising their personal responsibility.
“The local media has certainly done some polling on who wears a mask and found that very few people are apparently wearing a mask,” Kruea said.
Kruea recognized that the area is considered a hot spot. South Carolina health officials reported a growth of 125 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.
“It is a good wake-up call that this disease is not yet over, we have not yet licked COVID,” said Kruea. “Everyone needs to continue those healthy things that we have been recommending for the past four months.”
Kruea said the Myrtle Beach area is only about two percent of Horry County, South Carolina, where there have been more than 1,400 positive cases and 35 deaths.