Press Release: Beach Safety and Regulations
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Governor Cooper signaled his encouragement of outdoor activity and recreation, a welcome change for families who have been trapped at home for several weeks observing the “Stay At Home” order.
This easing of restrictions prompted an unprecedented flow of traffic to the beaches of Onslow County and North Topsail Beach last weekend. While the beach community has always welcomed visitors to enjoy the shore and all it has to offer, the large crowds and limited parking led some visitors to disregard the rules and regulations put in place for the safety of visitors and residents.
While we all want our visitors to enjoy their visits to the beach, we must ask that each beachgoer comply with the regulations in place, specifically:
CONSTRUCTION ZONES – At present both the North Topsail Beach Town Park and the Onslow County Beach Access Pavilion #4 are under construction. Each has been clearly identified and barriers are in place to prevent vehicles and pedestrians from accessing. Both of these areas contain many hazards, and they have been closed to prevent injury to beachgoers.
TRASH – Trash receptacles are available at every beach access. Refuse left on the beach presents a danger to marine life. This problem is compounded when people overfill trash containers allowing items to be windblown onto the beach or into the parking lots. Generally speaking, if you carried it in, please carry it out.
DRIVE-ON BEACH – At the northern tip of Topsail Island there is a 4X4 Beach Access point. Using this beach access requires a permit, and payment is required. This access will be manned for the entire summer, and permit purchase will be enforced.
PARKING – The beaches have limited parking areas available. Arrive early to ensure that you can legally park in a parking lot. Unfortunately, when these lots are full, beachgoers have taken the liberty of parking in marked “No Parking” areas, on private property, and in some cases – blocking streets. Often this practice blocks access for Emergency vehicles, and presents a danger to residents and visitors alike. Enforcement efforts are being stepped up and will include the issuance of expensive parking violations, and the towing of vehicles.
SOCIAL DISTANCING – While restrictions have been eased, it remains necessary for every person to protect themselves. Please avoid gathering in groups larger than ten people, and make every effort to maintain a minimum of 6’ distance between you and your fellow beachgoer.
We want you to have a great time at the beach, and we ask that you respect the rules that are in place to protect the residents, our guests, and the environment. The restrictions put in place have flattened the curve of COVID-related cases in our community. We must work together to ensure we are moving forward responsibly. Disregarding social distancing or mass gathering requirements could necessitate more restrictions. Your cooperation is sincerely appreciated as we work towards this mutual goal of safely returning to the beach.