McMaster: SC restaurants allowed to reopen today for dine-in service at 50% occupancy

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Restaurants filled with silence and empty tables will soon be back up and running.

Restaurants throughout the state are allowed to reopen for limited dine-in services starting May 11. We’re not just talking about the outdoor seating areas that were given the thumbs up to open days ago.

“They allow indoor dining up to 50% of the certificate of occupancy,” said South Carolina Governor, Henry McMaster.

It’s all part of Governor Henry McMaster’s next phase in getting things back to normal in South Carolina. But even though you can sit down for a meal inside the walls of a restaurant again, things will look a little different.

“The tables should be spaced both indoor and out, at least six to eight feet apart depending on the chair placement to keep the diners at least six feet apart,” McMaster said.

On top of that, restaurant staff have to follow additional cleaning and sanitizing guidelines for tables, chairs and other equipment they use.

“Five to ten minutes with face-to-face contact with someone without wearing a mask, puts you at risk,” said South Carolina Epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell.

Even as the state begins to blossom into the normal routine, state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said precautions still have to be taken. According to the governor, social distancing is still required.

“That law enforcement measure is still in effect,” Gov. Master told 7 News during a press conference Friday.

Restaurants can officially open their modified indoor seating Monday. That’s also when the governor said he plans to announce what’s next for hair salons and barbershops.

According to a news release, McMaster also announced that he would be lifting all boating restrictions effective immediately, saying that all laws and regulations concerning the safe operation of boats in the state will now return to normal.

“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.”

According to the release, the following are guidelines established by the governor for restaurants to following if and when they choose to open for dine-in services:

  • Only allow 50 percent of posted occupancy inside, as determined by fire marshals
  • Tables should be spaced 6 to 8 feet apart
  • Additional cleaning and sanitizing guidelines for equipment, tables, chairs, etc.
  • Additional guidance for health checks for all employees
  • Social distancing guidance for employees and customers, including recommended.

For a full list of guidelines, click here.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), 238 new coronavirus cases have been reported in the state Friday along with four additional deaths.

The four deaths were all elderly patients in Clarendon and Florence counties along with two people in Greenville County.

The total number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 is now up to 7,367 statewide.

DHEC said 320 total people have died from the virus.A total of 78,290 COVID-19 tests have been conducted by the DHEC Public Health Laboratory and private labs statewide.

DHEC said they estimate that 81 percent of people have recovered from the illness.

Four hundred sixty hospital beds statewide are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are being investigated for COVID-19.

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