Gov. McMaster: Decision on close-contact businesses could be coming soon

Gov. McMaster says he's waiting on guidance to advise these businesses to properly operate during a pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — “accelerateSC”, a task force created by Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) met Tuesday afternoon to discuss safe solutions to help reopen the state’s economy.

One topic discussed was the possibility of reopening close-contact businesses like beauty salons, barber shops, and fitness centers.

Over the last few weeks, Gov. McMaster has heard from several people about widening the net of businesses able to reopen their doors.

“I get letters from ladies that are dying to go to the beauty parlor. Of course, we don’t want them to die when they go to the beauty parlor,” Gov. McMaster said.

At the end of March, Gov. McMaster issued an executive order requiring all non-essential businesses, like close contact businesses including barber shops, beauty salons, and fitness centers to close their doors.

A recent executive order allowed restaurants to offer outside dining in addition to curbside and takeout service starting Monday.

Now after several meetings with the “accelerateSC” task force, the Governor says it might not be long before several close-contact businesses can reopen.

“They are all on our minds. We all know the harm to the business, and the smaller the businesses, the more harm is being caused by this virus,” said Gov. McMaster.

Results from a recent survey from the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce show 78% of businesses have a heightened awareness of maintaining social distance and sanitary practices in the workplace.

This is something some members of “accelerateSC” are keeping in mind, as they are preparing standards these close-contact businesses would have to follow.

“More guidelines are forthcoming with those best practices. The Commerce team, along with DHEC and OSHA, have created a framework of collaboration for these best practices,” said Helen Turner Hill, a member of “accelerateSC” and the Executive Director of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Gov. McMaster says he could be making an announcement on these businesses soon, possibly by the end of the week.

“People are ready. We need to be safe, we need to be sure, but people are ready,” Gov. McMaster said.

Other topics that were discussed at the second full meeting of “accelerateSC” was expanding testing capabilities in rural and at-risk areas, finding ways for local governments to have more revenue on hand that could last the next few months, the availability of personal protective equipment, access to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) grants, and making sure more businesses follow social distancing guidelines.

At the meeting, the Department of Administration announced the creation of a new “one-stop-shop” for COVID-19 information that people and businesses could need. To visit the new website, click here.

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