‘Surfing is not a crime!’ Many march to Town Hall to support reopening Carolina Beach

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A group gathered to march from Carolina Beach Lake to Town Hall to support the reopening of the town (photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Reopen Carolina Beach. It’s a message one group is sending to local leaders.

On Monday, Bobby McConville started a Facebook page called ‘Citizens to Reopen Carolina Beach’ because he says there seemed to be no movement toward reopening the town.

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So he attracted a group of like-minded people to march from Carolina Beach Lake to Town Hall on Friday.

“We just want to see some movement, and we want to see some movement now,” McConville said.

More than a dozen people showed up for the march itself, but even more showed up to the lake to share their opinions and hear what others had to say.

“Why can I go into Walmart and stand around hundreds of people but I can’t go surfing? Surfing ain’t a crime folks! Walking down the beach ain’t a crime folks!” participant Robert Johnson said.

While most were for the reopening of the town, one 77-year-old woman took a moment to address the crowd.

She asked them to think of their mothers and people like her who were more vulnerable to the virus.

After speaking for a few moments, march participants began to share their rebuttals to the woman’s argument and she left.

Event Organizer Bobby McConville says he knows things can’t go back to normal immediately, but the march is about moving forward.

He handed out index cards so people could share their ideas for slowly reopening the town.

He has a few of his own.

“Maybe pick 5 restaurants that want to participate. Cut their occupancy by half, set up ground rules and guidelines and hand sanitizers and maybe masks,” McConville suggested. “Just to start allowing people back in.”

Small business owner Tiffany Jackson says some businesses may not be able to last much longer.

“I don’t think it’s going to be economically feasible for us to continue on keeping small businesses closed down,” Jackson said.

But she knows it is important the reopening is done safely.

“We’re going to be dealing with waves of this for months on end. So we need to start getting our healthy folks back out in the community and start building anti-bodies to this,” she said. “And safely start finding some guidelines so people can start getting their businesses reopened again and back to work again.”

McConville says he hopes the town council takes their ideas and shapes them into a game plan.

“But if we don’t see any movement, then I guess we’ll have to march again,” he said.

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