Governor Henry McMaster today announced that COVID-19 safety measures related to the sale of alcohol and mass gatherings will be terminated effective Monday, March 1, 2021. Restaurants may resume normal alcohol sales as licensed by the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Additionally, South Carolina Department of Commerce approval for events involving more than 250 people will no longer be required.
“With the spread of the virus consistently decreasing across the country and more of the most vulnerable South Carolinians being vaccinated every day, I believe these targeted and limited safety measures are no longer necessary,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “The virus is still among us and we all must continue to make responsible decisions to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, but those decisions are for South Carolinians to make.”
WILL THIS HELP HEAL THE DIVIDE IN NMB?
North Myrtle Beach is a shining star among all Grand Strand Beach towns. The city leads the area in both tourist occupancy and revenue per tourist.
Issues around Covid have divided City Government and small business owners, however.
The divide centers around a St. Patrick’s day event on main street in North Myrtle Beach. Businesses joined as one to create a “St. Patrick’s Crawl For All” after the town canceled its own event.
The city raised concerns about the event in fears it would be a disease super spreader.
Business owner Weldon Boyd responded by pointing out that the city holds its own large events at the city’s sports complex.
NMB Public information officer Pat Dowling responded by saying the city needs to host for-profit events to keep city taxes down.
Dowling says all profits made from the Sports Complex are put into the city’s general fund.
“It keeps property taxes down at least one [million], maybe two on a good year. So there’s a reason we do these things. We don’t just take it and put it in a safe and say we’re rich. We use it to keep taxes down,” said Dowling.
Dowling’s argument, however, caused the city to lose the moral high ground on covid concerns.
The community may be able to come together now as one after the Governor’s new lift on restrictions.
For information about how COVID-19 continues to impact South Carolinians, and the 30-day trends for “key indicators” visit SCDHEC’s website here.
South Carolinians are still strongly encouraged to take appropriate safety precautions, including practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings when social distancing is not possible.
“Many South Carolinians have done their part by practicing the prevention measures we know work,” said DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer. “We are here today because of our citizens’ careful and ongoing efforts and we thank you for taking care of each other and putting your community and people first. I urge you to continue wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart, staying home and away from others if you’re sick and when it’s your time, get a safe and effective vaccine. Working together, we will defeat COVID-19.”
While approval will no longer be required by the Department of Commerce, it is recommended that organizers of large gatherings implement the following, previously mandatory, safety guidelines:
- Limit attendance of large gatherings to either 50% of the event space’s posted occupancy limit or fewer than 250 people
- All employees, customers, patrons, suppliers, vendors, visitors or other people in attendance at a large gathering should wear a face covering
- Organizers, operators, owners, or hosts of a large gathering shall take reasonable steps to incorporate, implement, comply with, and adhere to any relevant sanitation, “social distancing,” and hygiene guidelines established by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health officials.
Events previously approved by the Department of Commerce that have not yet taken place are encouraged to follow the same guidelines.