Gov. McMaster agrees with state leaders suggesting attractions open this weekend

Gov. McMaster agrees with state leaders suggesting attractions open this weekend

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Tuesday, state leaders met again as part of Gov. Henry McMaster’s task force focused on reopening the economy and made a big recommendation regarding the upcoming holiday weekend.

The accelerateSC meetings have been held in an effort to rejuvenate the state’s economy after several businesses were forced to suspend operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, some state leaders suggested opening up attractions to the public starting this Memorial Day weekend.

“We had a large crowd along the Grand Strand this weekend. Well if you stop and think about it -- swimming pools were closed this weekend, attractions were closed this weekend,” Duane Parrish, the director of SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said. “Opening up swimming pools yesterday. Opening up attractions this weekend would relieve some of that pressure of people being together in one place. We think it’s really important from an attraction standpoint to have that -- not just in the Grand Strand -- statewide to have that. We have an industry born plan and a healthcare approved plan ready to go.”

When the governor answered questions after the meeting, he said he believes that is a “good recommendation.” (Story continues below.)

LIVE: Gov. Henry McMaster is taking questions after an accelerateSC meeting. Some state leaders suggested opening up attractions in time for Memorial Day weekend. What do you think? Get the earliest breaking news alerts on your phone with the WIS 10 News app >> http://bit.ly/2Zz44uF

Posted by WIS TV on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

McMaster said he would weigh the recommendation. A formal announcement about attractions has not yet been made.

When asked if he would consider restricting beach access again if crowds didn’t adhere to social distancing guidelines he said, “I have no plans to do that at this point. Law enforcement, as mentioned earlier, will be on hand and law enforcement has the authority do disperse crowds if it’s a threat to health.”

Also during the meeting, a member of the task force from the S.C. Hospital association, Christian Soura, said DHEC reported 4,200 test results on Monday alone.

To put that in perspective, in March there were 5,700 results reported during the whole month.

Soura also reemphasized the state’s goal to test 2 percent of the population this month. Leaders said there are more than 200 testing sites right now with more to come.

The director for the Department of Health and Environmental Control, Rick Toomey, also said they are working to keep recovery rates up-to-date.

“The first case was March 5th, that’s a long time ago, but we still count that case as one of the cumulative cases, it’s something we are working on and we should be looking at because a majority of people are recovering,” he said.

Soura added: “We don’t include getting better in our mandatory reporting always, so we do a much better job at tracking disease than tracking wellness.”

This story will be updated.

For more information about accelerateSC, click or tap here.

Copyright 2020 WIS. All rights reserved.