Politics & Government

Beachgoers: Beware of Myrtle Beach's 'Thong Ordinance'

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, local leaders will vote on the first draft of a change to the indecent-exposure ordinance, known locally as The Thong Ordinance, that will give police officers the choice of whether to issue a warning or a ticket or even make an arrest on a first offense.

In the past, officers were obliged to issue warnings before someone could be ticketed.

"There are beaches elsewhere in the world that allow more skin than we do," city spokesman Mark Kruea said. Topsail Beach in North Carolina, for example, allows toplessness, as do some beaches elsewhere in the country and in Europe.

But that's not Myrtle Beach, he said.

Though bare behinds, semi-bare breasts and other borderline public nudity is fairly common during the May motorcycle rallies, Kruea said this is a year-round ordinance and is not aimed specifically at the motorcycle events.

"We certainly have some issues with unclothedness during the rallies," he said. "But it crops up from time to time on the beach in the summertime, too."

While only Myrtle Beach has a specific no-thong rule - now 16 years old - other cities have their own public decency rules.

Council members will also discuss the layout plan for the Myrtle Beach International Airport.

The airport is within city limits but is owned and operated by Horry County, and the county has been planning to expand the main commercial terminal and extend Harrelson Boulevard to U.S. 17 Business.

Read the complete story at myrtlebeachonline.com