South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced Friday that restaurants throughout the state will be allowed to reopen for limited dine-in services starting on Monday after they were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an effort to assist the state’s economic reopening process, McMaster has implemented guidelines for restaurants to follow should they decide to reopen. Those guidelines include only allowing 50 percent capacity inside at a time, tables must be spread six to eight feet apart, social distancing, and health checks for employees must be practiced. The guidelines were based on advice and input from AccelerateSC, as well as the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
McMaster is leaving the responsibility of reopening in the hands of those who own food businesses if they would like to reopen.
“This doesn’t mean that everyone has to open,” McMaster said. “It means that restriction has been lifted. Every restaurant owner or every manager will have to make decisions based on their customers, their clients, their staff, and the safety of those people.”
McMaster also announced that boating restrictions would be lifted immediately. However, the governor urged social distancing practices and precautions.
“As we gradually and methodically lift restrictions aimed at combating the coronavirus, it is incumbent upon South Carolinians to follow to the guidance and recommendations provided by our public health experts to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” McMaster said.
“This virus still presents a serious threat to South Carolinians, but I have faith in the people of our state and their ability to act responsibly and in the best interest of the communities they live in,” he added.
The governor also stated he will likely address businesses that involve person-to-person contact, like barbershops, nail salons, and gyms on Monday.
“We hope to have a decision made and announced as early as Monday on those,” McMaster said.
As of Friday, South Carolina has 7,367 positive cases of COVID-19, with 320 total deaths.