Full-speed ahead for South Carolina close-contact business reopenings

Monday, May 18, 2020
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Close-contact businesses in South Carolina were allowed to reopen their doors for the first time in weeks. Businesses like salons, pools, tattoo parlors, and gyms are among those allowed to open back up.

You might remember when Georgia opened close-contact businesses several weeks ago. Many business owners were hesitant and decided to remain closed.

This does not seem to be the case with places in South Carolina where almost every business we spoke to said they are opening back up immediately.

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But those business owners say it’s not because they feel the need to play catch-up, it’s because they’ve had time to see what to do and what not to do.

Business owners like Amanda Hennings say maybe that’s for the best.

“If South Carolina government thought that we needed to wait because of our numbers, I just trust that,” Jennings said.

But guidelines on how businesses should reopen are pretty vague. Gov. Henry McMaster’s office says it’s really up to the employer how they keep their businesses safe, but he recommends social distancing, cleaning, and extra employee training.

“We have cleaning stations everywhere,” Jennings said “Everybody’s going to have their own cleaning station, their own spray bottle, their own station, their own weights, their own mats.”

At hair salons like Edge in North Augusta, owner David Towles says it shouldn’t be much of a change if cosmetologists were doing what they were supposed to in the first place.

“Before we closed, we were already changing drapes, we were doing a lot of things,” Towles said. “And we could have been doing that and stayed open while all the big box stores were open.”

Unlike Georgia’s uneasy reopening, South Carolina businesses like Edge Salon are moving full-speed ahead.

“We’re booked out for weeks,” Towles said.

Nearly 500,000 unemployment claims have been filed in the Palmetto State in the past two months.

In a briefing Friday, McMaster said South Carolina’s economy is “not meant to be shut down.” Instead, he’s urging citizens to “be safe, but go.”

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