Many seen at NC beaches as state partially reopens in time for holiday weekend

North Carolina news

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WNCN) — Since the stay-at-home order’s been lifted in North Carolina, many people went to the beach for Memorial Day weekend.

“Excitement and relief and I feel sane now that I can go out and do something,” said Megan Elrick who was visiting Wrightsville Beach on Saturday from Raleigh.

North Carolina is now in Phase Two of reopening the economy — following weeks of stay-at-home orders.

“People were so excited. They were so happy. You can just tell what’s going on here today. People are just happy to be out, somewhat socializing,” said resident Joe Deliberto.

The town of Wrightsville Beach loosened restrictions on Wednesday. Beaches are now open for all activities, including sunbathing, fishing and games.

“It was beautiful. I mean there was a lot of boat traffic, but it was good,” said resident David Young.

Several parking lots are open, but all public on-street spaces are closed.

“It’s been very busy. Parking honestly was really difficult. We’ve been driving around for about an hour,” said Elizabeth Hatfield who was visiting from Buford, South Carolina.

Many cars parked in the spots with cones and coverings anyway. CBS 17 spotted tickets on some of them.

“We would like to see all the parking spaces, all the street parking to be open so everybody can come to the beach,” said Young.

The town said they’d be enforcing social distancing and crowd size limitations as part of the state-mandated executive order.

Beach-goers said they’re keeping that in mind, while enjoying the day in the sun.

“Just staying away from people and being mindful of other people’s personal space,” said Hatfield. “I feel safer outside where I can practice social distancing and not feel like I have to be in an enclosed space with all these people, so I feel fine with it. We have to start opening things up eventually and this is kind of the easy way to start transitioning.”

CBS 17 reached out to the Wrightsville Beach police to see how many citations they handed out Saturday, but have not heard back.

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