Governor’s new “Palmetto Priority” program aims to highlight restaurants following guidelines

People can report restaurants who don't comply with safety guidance

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —If you’re planning on going out to eat in the next few weeks, you might see a new sticker in the windows of some of your favorite restaurants.

Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) is rolling out a new program showing customers which restaurants are following guidelines to keep customers and staff safe.

Steve Cook, the owner of Saluda’s in Five Points, says emphasizing customer and staff safety has been his top priority since the Governor gave the green light for restaurants to reopen.

“My employees are my friends, they’re my coworkers. I just know we’re taking very good care of our employees and in turn they are taking care of our customers,” Cook said.

With cases of COVID-19 rising by the day in South Carolina, the Governor is calling on restaurant owners to make safety their main entree. 

Through the “Palmetto Priority” program, people can report restaurants to the state’s Restaurant and Lodging Association for not following guidance set forth by DHEC and the CDC.

Those restaurants then have three chances to correct these violations, or else customers would see a noticeable change.

“If you go into a restaurant and it doesn’t have this sign, it doesn’t have this seal. Go somewhere else. That’s what I’d do,” the Governor said in a press conference Tuesday.

Cook calls the initiative a step in the right direction since it reflects the hard work restaurant owners have put in to keep people safe.

“We’re going above and beyond all the precautions we can to make sure its among the safest places you can go when you venture out,” Cook said.

As more restaurants start to double down on their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, Cook says his team is going to continue serving up safety any chance they can.

“I need our customers to trust that we’re doing the right thing every single day, so that every time they come in, whether it’s during this current period or a year from now, they know we’re going to take the very best care of them that we can,” Cook said.

Restaurant owners who are making the pledge have to take online courses from DHEC about safe serving and adhere to reopening guidelines set forth by the state.

A full list of restaurants taking part in the pledge will be released as they sign up to take the pledge.

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