By Copper Dome Strategies
Friday, April 24, 2020
Gov. Henry McMaster lifted some restrictions on public access to beaches and waterways and announced the creation of a task force on economic revitalization. South Carolina’s public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
The General Assembly remains in recess, but the governor has offered to call them back for a Special Session in June to adopt a Continuing Resolution to keep government operating beyond June 30.
Gov. Henry McMaster announced on Monday the creation of accelerateSC, a coordinated economic revitalization plan involving small and large business leaders, healthcare professionals, local government officials and education professionals.
The plan consists of five components of analysis and effort: Response, Protection, Governance, Resources and Information. These components will employ maximum communication, collaboration and cooperation among themselves and those assisting to effectively identify issues, solutions and assets necessary for a phased revitalization path for South Carolina’s economy, guided by healthcare and medical data.
The governor will designate a state agency to coordinate each of the revitalization components; other identified state agencies will assist. The accelerateSC participants will make immediate, intermediate and long-term recommendations to the governor for revitalizing and expanding South Carolina’s economy while protecting the health of South Carolina citizens.
Gov. McMaster and Lt. Governor Pamela Evette attended and led the first meeting of accelerateSC on Thursday afternoon. During the nearly three-hour meeting, state officials updated members on the effects of the pandemic in South Carolina. Tourism Director Duane Parrish noted that last year South Carolina’s tourism industry generated over $24 billion. This year that number is expected to be half of that at $12 billion. Parrish said 571 hotels, more than half of all hotels in our state, are closed. Department of Employment and Workforce Director Dan Ellzey told the group his agency has paid out more than $510 million in unemployment claims in the past 60 days. The two hardest-hit employment sectors are tourism and healthcare.
Gov. McMaster challenged the group to be creative and collaborative. He noted many of their recommendations may lead to permanently lifting some of the restrictions and red tape that have come to light during the pandemic. Subcommittee groups will begin meeting next Monday.
Of note: Dr. Mary Thornley, president of Trident Technical College, and Knox White, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd attorney and Greenville mayor, serve on the Governance Committee.
For further information about accelerateSC and its members, visit the governor’s website.
Gov. McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-28 on Monday, which removes restrictions on public access points to the state’s beaches, public piers, docks and wharfs, while delegating to local officials the authority to restrict access, as they see fit.
This order also re-opens retail stores that were closed pursuant to Executive Order 2020-18. Businesses to be reopened are as follows:
- Furniture and home-furnishings stores
- Clothing, shoe and clothing-accessory stores
- Jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores
- Department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores
- Sporting goods stores
- Book, craft and music stores
- Flea markets
- Florists and flower stores
All other businesses previously closed by executive order will remain closed.
Under the order, retail stores may reopen but must adhere to strict social distancing requirements, operating at 20% occupancy or five customers per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. Businesses must not knowingly allow customers to congregate within 6 feet of one another, excluding families, and follow relevant CDC and DHEC guidelines.
Public beach access points, piers, docks and wharfs were reopened April 21 at noon. Public boat ramps and boat landings were previously reopened pursuant to Executive Order 2020-25.
All other executive orders, including the Governor’s “Home or Work” order, remain in effect. South Carolinians should maintain social distancing practices and avoid large groups of people.
The governor also announced he would be issuing an Executive Order next week requiring all K-12 public schools to remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Governor Henry McMaster issued an Executive Order last week extending the State of Emergency for another 15 days until April 27. It also maintains all previous Executive Orders to date.
Gov. McMaster previously issued the following Executive Orders:
Executive Order 2020-21, which includes a mandatory “Home or Work” order and mandates capacity limitations to retail businesses still operating.
Executive Order 2020-22, authorizing support payments for employers and directs the Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) to interpret furloughed employees as being unemployed for the purpose of unemployment compensation.
Executive Order 2020-16, closing public access to all beaches and access to all public boat ramps and landings on all lakes, rivers and waterways.
Executive Order 2020-17, which orders the closure of non-essential businesses throughout the state in order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Executive Order 2020-09 states all South Carolina public schools will remain closed for the month of April. This order applies to all K-12 schools and the state’s public colleges, universities and technical colleges. They encouraged all institutions to maintain existing plans to provide instruction through virtual learning.
Business owners who have a question as to whether they qualify as essential should complete the Essential Business Clarification form from the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Questions can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or business representatives can call 803.734.2873.
The Medical University of South Carolina is offering free Telehealth consultations and screenings for anyone in South Carolina experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms. New and existing patients should use the promo code COVID19.
For more information from DHEC on the virus, go here. The DHEC Care Line is available to provide general information about COVID-19 by calling 855.472.3432 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days per week.
Other helpful links:
The Emergency Management Division provides links to important information, including the South Carolina Department on Aging, SC Childcare, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the Department of Revenue and the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
Small business information and assistance can be found at the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
Information for parents, teachers and students regarding statewide school closures can be found at the SC Department of Education.
For resources that might be beneficial to your organization’s preparedness efforts, visit the COVID-19 Resources page of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd PA. (Copper Dome Strategies is a subsidiary of the law firm).
South Carolina Health Alert Network
Reminder: Wash your hands. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough. Stay home if you’re sick.
The General Assembly is not meeting in session due to the pandemic. The current legislative session is scheduled to adjourn Sine Die on May 14. There is not currently a mechanism in place for the continued operation of state government beyond June 30, when the fiscal year ends. The chambers have also not agreed to the adoption of a Sine Die Resolution that would allow the bodies to return to Columbia at any time after the adjournment date of May 14.
Gov. McMaster has written to the leadership of the House and Senate offering to call them back in for a Special Session in June, at a date and time of their choosing, for the purpose of passing a Continuing Resolution for the operation of state government beyond June 30. McMaster suggested it would be unsafe for the General Assembly to return prior to May 14.
We will keep you apprised as to any updates regarding the state’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and the actions of the General Assembly.
Look to SCACPA’s ‘The View from the Dome’ for State House Developments on Tax Issues Through SC’s 2020 Legislative Session. Sine Die adjournment is scheduled for May 14.
Jan. 10: South Carolina’s Pending Tax Bills and Your 2020 Legislative Preview
Jan. 17: Gov. McMaster’s Executive Budget Calls for Tax Cuts, Rebates for Taxpayers
Jan. 24: McMaster’s State of the State Emphasizes Tax Cuts, Rebates, Teacher Raises; Business License Tax Talks Continue
Jan. 31: House Subcommittee Hears Budget Request from SC Chief Justice to Improve Case Management System
Feb. 7: Senate Finance Committee Approves Business Personal Property Bill for DOR Filing
Feb. 14: Board of Economic Advisors Announces Largest Budget Surplus in SC History
Feb. 21: House Floor Debate is Up Next for Budget After Ways and Means Committee Plan Adopted
Feb. 28: House Members Have Upcoming Week to Study Budget Before Floor Debate
March 6: Education Reform Bill Moves from Senate to House; DHEC Tells of Coronavirus Resources
March 13: Senate Bills Make Progress for Conformity, Business Personal Property and Business License Tax Reform
March 20: A Look Inside the $45M COVID-19 Relief Package for DHEC; Return of Legislators is on Hold
March 27: Legislative Session Remains Postponed; Candidate Filing Period Ends on March 30
April 3: General Assembly Will Convene for One Day on April 8; State Elections Leader Suggests List of Voting Adjustments
April 10: Here are Details of General Assembly’s Unresolved Continuing Resolution Situation for State Operations Budget
April 17: McMaster Announces ‘Accelerate South Carolina’ Revitalization Plan, Details to Come
To keep up with the latest news of SCACPA Advocacy, turn to the SCACPA Blog and our social media outlets.