Gov. McMaster Lifts Restrictions On Close Contact Services, Athletic Facilities

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Governor Henry McMaster is continuing to get the state back up on its feet.

On Monday, the governor announced that close contact services, fitness and exercise centers, commercial gyms and public or commercial pools can reopen in a limited capacity, effective Monday, May 18th at 12:01 a.m.

Close contact service providers include barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons and spas, body-art facilities and tattoo services, tanning salons, massage-therapy establishments and massage services.

Commercial gyms include group exercise facilities such as yoga studios, barre classes and others.

“With our increased capacity for testing the people of our state, it is time to responsibly and gradually get these small businesses back up and running,” McMaster said. “We have an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the world by reinvigorating our economy while staying safe, but we can only do that if South Carolinians continue to follow the advice and recommendations of our public health experts.”

The governor’s announcement comes following nearly three weeks of accelerateSC meeting, in part, for the purpose of developing guidelines for operations that each of these businesses are expected to follow, if and when they choose to open.

The “Response” component of accelerateSC, with advice and recommendations from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), have developed general guidelines for close contact service providers, along with specific guidelines for cosmetology establishments, gyms and fitness centers, and public or commercial pools.

These guidelines include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Guidance on social distancing within businesses, including recommended capacity requirements
  • Additional cleaning and sanitizing guidelines for equipment, tables, chairs, etc.
  • Additional guidance on health checks for employees
  • Additional guidance on training for employees

The first group of non-essential employee who has more difficulty working from home will return to offices no later than June 1st pending ample personal protective equipment is onsite.

Employees are expected to follow follow hygience practices, social distancing and keeping materials sanitized.

Dr. Bell with SC DHEC…

SC DHEC says its increasing its testing capacity. A total of 89,968 tests have been performed in the state, covering 1.7 percent of the population. Of those tests, 7,792 have been positive and that’s approximately 9 percent.

The goal Dr. Bell adds is to test 2 percent or 110,000 South Carolinians per month and they’re on track to meet the target by the end of the month.

DHEC says it has 400 contact tracers employed. Dr. Bell says these contact tracers will work with someone who has tested positive to see who they’ve had contact with. “It’s a confidential process,” she says

SC DHEC is also reporting 140 new cases of the COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths.

This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state to 7.792 and those who have died to 346.




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