Governor announces significant changes coming to COVID-19 restrictions, throws many Lexington County
West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) - Governor Henry McMaster announced Friday he was modifying restrictions on restaurants as of Monday, May 11, 2020 to allow indoor dining with some guidelines. Each restaurant is limited to half the number of diners based on the certificate of occupancy their local fire marshal has set and other limitations.
Based on the advice and recommendations of SCDHEC’s experts, and members of the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, Governor McMaster’s office developed a list of guidelines for restaurants to follow if they reopen their dining rooms Monday. Those guidelines can be found by following this LINK.
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The governor also announced at the same time his intentions to consider reopening close contact businesses, such as gyms, barber shops and hair and nail salons, along with other businesses of those type soon. There is even a manual that can help all business owners prepare to reopen that has been established. It’s called, “Open in SC: A Suggested Best Practices Manual in Preparation of Reopening the South Carolina Economy,” You can find that by following this LINK.
This is great news for Lexington County’s restaurants and other small businesses. Many of these are mom and pop operations that have been seriously affected financially by the closings. Some of those may never fully recover financially even with help from the federal government’s stimulus packages through the SBA.
Many of the non-chain restaurants were simply not equipped with drive-thru windows and prided themselves on home-cooked meals and a good atmosphere for socializing. They tried to adapt by providing curbside or delivery services but were not doing the volume they had. Some of the alternatives methods also cut into their profit margins.
Their contributions to the local economy are untold. Many Lexington County towns and cities have hospitality taxes that help fund community projects that brought additional people to their areas. These are pennies tacked onto every dollar spent on prepared food and drinks. These businesses also offered thousands of jobs to County residents.
Nail salons and barber shops, small independent gyms, and many other close contact businesses could also be found scattered across every portion of Lexington County. These all are the businesses just like the restaurants that had their owners in them every day working alongside employees to keep the customers happy and their standards up.
Many of the restaurants’ staffs will not be taking this weekend off. Instead, their owners and employees could be working through Mothers’ Day preparing to open their dining rooms with the new guidelines in place.