By Morgan Newell | May 11, 2020 at 3:01 PM EDT – Updated May 15 at 4:45 PM
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTV) – Governor Henry McMaster announced that close-contact businesses such as barbershops, hair salons, gyms, pools and others are allowed to reopen in South Carolina on May 18.
These establishments will be able to open in a limited capacity.
These businesses include barbershops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons and spas, body-art facilities and tattoo services, tanning salons, massage-therapy establishments, massage services, fitness and exercise centers, commercial gyms, and public or commercial pools.
Commercial gyms will 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.”
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
These businesses have been closed since April 1, so they were hoping this announcement would come.
Barber Adrian McCrorey has not heard his clippers grazing someone’s hair in more than a month.
“The people that come here are like family so it’s been like being without your family,” McCrorey said.
McCrorey’s barbershop was deemed a close contact business and was ordered to shut down April 1.
Closing his shop meant shutting down revenue.
”With us being closed its kind of hard to make anything. For me I had to dip into my savings to maintain a way of life,” McCrorey said.
On Monday afternoon, McCrorey said he was just waiting on direction from the governor while passing the time by cleaning and preparing for his reopening.
He expected to reopen next Monday regardless of the timeframe McMaster allowed.
”We just want to be able to be safe,” McCrorey said. “We need to know what we need to do to protect ourselves and our clients.”
MedServe Pulmonary Rehab co-owners Shannon and Vanis Smith are playing the same waiting game.
They serve older people with pre-existing conditions in a gym-like setting.
When most of their clients went into self-quarantine, they closed.
They are ready to reopen to help their clients’ well-being.
”They’ve gotten weaker since they got home the anxiety levels so just to get them all back in here get them back to some state of normalcy,” Shannon Smith said. “We’re very excited to open back up.”
Reopening is only second to safety.
MedServe Pulmonary Rehab wants to give their clients peace of mind the next time they walk through the door.
”We want to make sure we’re minimizing the risk of anything, not just COVID-19,” Vanis Smith said. “We want them to come in here and see it’s clean it’s healthy.”
“The virus has been chasing us and now we have turned the tables and we are chasing the virus,” McMaster said during the delivery of personal protective equipment in North Charleston. “And I’ll be glad when we’ve caught it cause that means a lot of us will be able to get a haircut, which I know everyone will appreciate.”
South Carolina restaurants were allowed to reopen for limited dine-in services Monday. McMaster also announced that he has lifted all boating restrictions effective immediately.
McMaster has already lifted the state’s mandatory ‘home or work’ order.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced that it has identified more than 1,800 contact tracers to support the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts.
The agency has increased its number of contact tracers from 20 to 400 staff members. In addition, DHEC has retained another 1,400 contact tracers through contracts with two private staffing companies (Apple One and C-Trace), bringing the total number of available contact tracers to 1,800. Also, 667 members of the public have also expressed interest in becoming a contact tracer through our contact tracing webpage.
DHEC projections currently indicate that South Carolina may see almost 1,000 new cases per week by mid-May. The total number of cases is estimated to grow to 9,652 confirmed cases on May 23.
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