TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – One Richmond Hill family is facing a huge fine. They are accused of breaking the rules on Tybee Beach. Georgia State Troopers can be seen at every corner of Tybee Beach ensuring beachgoers aren’t breaking the governor’s orders.
“Officers were giving a lot of warnings, no tickets, no citations and we were getting calls from residents who were just very upset about the lack of enforcement,” Tybee Island Mayor, Shirley Sessions said.
“There were no signs at all leading anyone towards any entrance and there were no signs at the correct entrance,” Katie West who received a citation said.
West and her husband were hit with $1,400 citations each after being on the crossover at 15th Street. The citations were issued by the Tybee Island Police Department. The family says they were going out to exercise after being cooped up in the house for the past few weeks. The citations said they were given for disorderly conduct. Katie West said that others were also on the crossover but they were a few of the ones stopped and issued citations.
The West family said the beach closed sign was no longer there leading them to believe they could cross. After being directed to the open entrance at 19th Street the family says it was hard to tell it was even an entrance.
“You had to go around a board that said do not use the crosswalk and it was just a small entrance that they had people crammed going in and out of so it made no sense,” West said.
City Manager Shawn Gillen told WSAV News 3 over the phone that people have been taking those signs down. He said originally the crossovers were kept closed to avoid people coming in contact with each other as they would be breaking that six feet barrier.
News 3 cameras spotted people climbing over the closed signs Wednesday afternoon. Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions admits she’s seen it too.
“I try to gently explain this is why it’s not a good idea and I mean the sign is right there,” Sessions said.
That’s why Sessions agrees with the citations. She said the West’s can fight their citations in court.
“Explain your situation and it will be up to the judge to make a decision,” Sessions said.
“They told us that we could fight it in August if that’s the way we wanted to do it. Of course, we’re going to have to. I mean that’s somebody’s whole paycheck,” West said.
The mayor said some of the crossovers will be open this weekend to alleviate confusion along with some parking lots.
“I definitely want to encourage people to go to the beach because I do feel like we do need to start getting out a little more and making things normal again but if you go there please be careful,” West said.
The mayor said she believes it’s the people’s beach and they should be able to go to exercise, but still wants to make sure everyone is following the rules. The West family has reached out to Governor Brian Kemp and is waiting to hear back.
Those who want access to the beach should enter the five vehicle access points. These are located at Polk Street, Gulick Street, 3rd Street, 19th Street, and Inlet Street.