Gov. Henry McMaster indicated during a military commanders briefing Thursday that he would lift restaurant occupancy restrictions that have been in place since early August.
“We’re going to remove the limitations on restaurants,” McMaster said. “I would encourage everyone to stay outside as much as they can. We’ll not remove the mask requirements.”
Specifically, McMaster said he was planning to drop the occupancy rate restriction of 50%, allowing 100% capacity for food and beverage establishments. He did not offer a timetable for the change but said it would be soon.
McMaster said South Carolina had done what was necessary to get control of the coronavirus and acknowledged that when the state had made mistakes, it tried to adjust its approach to protect the health and safety of individuals and businesses. McMaster said the state used science, data and experience of other places to make decisions about reacting to the coronavirus.
Calling it a “measure twice and cut once” approach, McMaster said the state was now ready to pull back on some of the earlier restrictions and pointed to recent economic development announcements by Boeing Co. and Walmart as an indication that the state has been handling the pandemic appropriately.
Boeing Co. said Thursday that it plans to consolidate all of the company’s 787 production to North Charleston from Everett, Wash. Earlier this year, Walmart decided to build a $220 million, 3 million-square-foot distribution center in Dorchester County.
“South Carolina is open for business. We never close,” he said. “That is one reason you continue to see announcements and decisions made by companies coming here.”o