> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., has been forced to close.

Myrtle Beach on Sunday (March 29) was not the same busy town that locals are used to seeing on a warm and sunny weekend heading into the tourist season, according to myhorrynews.com.

Traffic was nonexistent, except for large lifted and squatted trucks cruising the boulevard. Crashing waves were audible from blocks away. The airport was a big empty echo chamber. Families were packing up and heading out.

Sunday was the deadline Myrtle Beach gave vacationers to leave their hotels, motels and campgrounds and head home, in an effort to stop any new cases of COVID-19 from getting to the city. North Myrtle Beach and Horry County have passed similar ordinances.

Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations for Ocean Lakes Family Campground, told WOODALLSCM.com in an email Friday that the impact has been substantial after the order was given to shutter parks last week.

“We had 350 arrivals set for this weekend alone and were having to call arriving guests,” she noted. “Plus, Horry County had a discrepancy in their ordinance dates (as they rushed the ordinance) causing major confusion. We are in the process of canceling thousands of reservations through April 30.

“With 2,569 annual lease sites, we do have residents that live here year-round and seasonal guests, all trying to understand the ordinance and looking to us for answers,” Krumm added.

She told WCM that with hundreds of employees, the park must now figure out the human resource implications of these shutdowns.

They have created a website to explain what actions the park is taking amidst the coronavirus crisis. You can access that here: https://www.oceanlakes.com/about-us/coronavirus-2/.

Ocean Lakes is trying to coordinate communications with the Myrtle Beach Family Campground Owners Association and the Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CARVC).

“At this point, it goes beyond the ability to do business,” Krumm explained. “Public opinion is in a blind frenzy thanks to the media and various government officials and their soundbites. Even if we were allowed to take reservations and welcome guests, it would then be a public relations battle. Although the majority of our guest support is positive, we have received hate emails, social media comments … etc. from local residents for operating our business.”

Ocean Lakes has also implemented many procedures beyond what’s on its website, Krumm noted. Through all this, she says Ocean Lakes remains optimistic that it will have a great summer season.

“Pending any longterm government ordinances impeding operations,” she explained. “People want to get out of their houses and to the beach. But also, we are really concerned about the financial impact these ordinances will have across the U.S. on Americans’ ability to afford a vacation. In the past, the campground industry has fared better in hard economic times, in this unprecedented situation only time will tell.”