Close contact businesses, including salons and gyms, in S.C. can reopen Monday

Updated: May. 11, 2020 at 8:13 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Governor Henry McMaster announced that close contact businesses, which include gyms and hair salons, can reopen next week.

McMaster made the announcement during a press conference saying close contact businesses, fitness centers, and public or commercial pools can be reopened in a limited capacity on Monday, May 18.

The governor cited the increased capacity for testing South Carolinians as one of the reasons for the decision to open these particular businesses.

“...It is time to responsibly and gradually get these small businesses back up and running,” McMaster said. “We have an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the world by reinvigorating our economy while staying safe, but we can only do that if South Carolinians continue to follow the advice and recommendations of our public health experts.”

Close contact businesses able to open on May 18 include the following: Barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons and spas, body-art facilities and tattoo services, tanning salons, massage-therapy establishments and massage services.

According to the governor, commercial gyms include group exercise facilities such as yoga studios, barre classes, and others.

The governor originally ordered the closure of non-essential businesses on April 1. Businesses affected not only included salons and gyms, but entertainment venues like concert halls and theaters as well.

McMaster on Monday did not specify a reopening date for entertainment venues, but said he was looking into those businesses.

State health officials have developed general guidelines for close contact service providers, along with specific guidelines for cosmetology establishments, gyms and fitness centers, and public or commercial pools.

These guidelines include guidance on social distancing within businesses, including recommended capacity requirements; additional cleaning and sanitizing guidelines for equipment, tables, chairs, etc.; additional guidance on health checks for employees, and additional guidance on training for employees.

McMaster said the decision to open the close contact businesses was not a hard decision, and said it came down to what the facts were of the state and the virus and having a clear understanding what was going on between them.

“Once you have adequate facts, and with the talent that we have available to those of us making makes a good, strong process,” he said.

You can watch the governor’s full press conference below or click here.

McMaster holding news conference on state’s response to COVID-19

WATCH LIVE: McMaster holding news conference on state’s response to COVID-19

Posted by Live 5 News on Monday, May 11, 2020

Today, restaurants throughout South Carolina were allowed to reopen for limited dine-in services. McMaster established guidelines for restaurants to follow if and when they choose to open for dine-in services.

Those guidelines include only allowing 50% of posted occupancy inside, tables spaced 6 to 8 feet apart, additional guidance for health checks for all employees, and social distancing. A full list of guidelines can be found here.

In addition, McMaster lifted all boating restrictions. But social distancing is recommended and McMaster urged people to use common sense.

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