COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start to the summer, and after weeks of staying at home, some people are expected to head to the beaches, pools, or visit family and friends.
Doctors and health experts are urging people to not let their guard down.
Dr. Anna Kathryn Burch, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Prisma Health, said even though it is Memorial Day weekend, the virus isn't taking a holiday.
“We have to remember we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “Just because tourist attractions are opening up, it doesn’t mean we need to relax the social distancing measures we have been following.”
Dr. Burch wanted to remind South Carolinians to wear masks when they are out in public and are in a place where they can't be six feet away from others. She said if you're visiting family and friends for a cookout, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and others.
"When you're serving food, don't do the normal buffet set up where people serve themselves," she said.
If you're going to the beach, pool, or lake, Dr. Burch said don't forget to social distance in the water as well. Stay at least six feet apart from others.
Businesses are also preparing for an influx of potential customers this weekend and in the summer. Some experts believe this weekend could show signs of an economic recovery. Especially for those in the hospitality industry.
Some South Carolina businesses are embracing these health guidelines. In the Upstate, as of Friday evening, close to 200 businesses have signed a pledge to keep customers and employees safe. It’s called the Greater Greenville Pledge.
"We're not going to rush our way out of this pandemic," said Greenville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlos Phillips.
Under the pledge, businesses have promised to do these things:
- Monitor the health of our employees
- Clean high touch areas frequently
- Encourage the use of face coverings and promote regular hand washing
- Limit the number of people, both inside our building and in our outdoor spaces (if applicable)
- Promote social distancing at all times
All of this is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Phillips said this will help play a big role in economic recovery and the safety of South Carolinians.
"The more confident that consumers and customers are in businesses being safe,” he said, “then the more likely they are to visit those locations."