Tybee is seeing healthy visitor numbers despite the pandemic, raising familiar parking issues across the small island, according to City Manager Shawn Gillen.
Against the better judgment of local officials concerned about the spiking spread of COVID-19, Tybee Island tepidly welcomed thousands of Independence Day revelers to congregate and celebrate on the coastal community’s open beaches and within its bustling hangouts.
Despite the cancellation of this year’s fireworks show, City Manager Shawn Gillen said nearly every hotel room on the island is rented out for the weekend, and he expects at least 14,000 cars to cross Lazaretto Creek Bridge for the holiday.
Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions published a video at the outset of what is typically a lucrative Memorial Day weekend for her city’s businesses with a simple message: Don’t come.
a Friday announcement issued on Tybee’s municipal website emphasized that DNR-issued restrictions were still in place.
Tybee Island was quiet Tuesday, four days into a standoff with Gov. Brian Kemp over the reopening of beaches.
Tybee Island, a small coastal city near Savannah, Georgia, that depends on tourism, closed its beaches two weeks ago amid the growing pandemic. But the town’s decision was abruptly reversed when Kemp’s shelter-in-place order went into effect and reopened the state’s beaches.
In a Saturday letter to Tybee Island City Council, TIARA said they made the decision in an effort to keep people from coming to the beach, at least for overnight stays.
A small coastal city in Georgia that thrives on tourism closed its beach, fearing carefree crowds of teenagers and college students posed too great a risk for spreading the new coronavirus.
In a statement, Tybee Mayor Shirley Sessions called the decision to reopen the beaches a “reckless mandate” and reiterated that beach access areas and parking lots will remain closed.