West said they were among a few who were singled out, and that police did not issue citations to many others who were arriving at the same time.
“It was really 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, according to WSAV.
WSAV showed footage of scattered groups about the beach.
In some cases people have torn down closure signs and barricades at the beach’s five vehicle access points, leading to complaints from residents, Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen told the station.
The monthlong lockdown order is set to expire just before midnight Thursday in spite of warnings from health officials that it may still be too early to do so.
Officials reportedly will open some of the beach access points this weekend.
Kemp’s order prohibited Georgians from going out except for “essential” or “necessary” purposes. It allowed most employers to engage only in “minimum business operations,” and it closed gyms, bowling alleys and “close-contact” establishments such as tattoo parlors, hair and nail salons, and barbershops. The order also suspended dine-in service at restaurants. Kemp allowed those close-contact businesses to reopen last week and authorized restaurants to open their dining rooms Monday. Bars and nightclubs remain shuttered.
Kemp’s executive orders have prohibited local governments from adopting their own regulations. That prohibition has been controversial among local government officials, particularly after Kemp reversed decisions to close Georgia beaches.
Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions said she expects a surge of beach visitors this weekend if Kemp lifts the shelter-at-home order. “I still disagree” with Kemp’s preempting local regulations, Sessions said in an interview. “But I accept what we’re faced with. And, rather than fighting it, I’m trying to see how we can make it work for our community without being belligerent or argumentative to the governor.”
“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,” Sessions said, according to WSAV-TV.
She told WSAV that she agrees with the citations and said the Wests could fight the charges in court if they wanted to.
“Explain your situation and it will be up to the judge to make a decision,” she said.
— Alan Judd and Greg Bluestein contributed to this report for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.