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SC beaches, retail stores to reopen early this week, senator says

The move would loosen restrictions set in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina beaches and retail stores could open as early as Tuesday, according to one state senator with knowledge on the matter.

Senator Stephen Goldfinch says Governor Henry McMaster will likely issue the order Monday allowing beaches and retail stores to open as early as Tuesday morning. 

RELATED: DHEC: One new virus death reported in South Carolina, lowest number in weeks

The move would loosen restrictions set in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"I certainly don't think that the numbers are going to spike from landings being reopened and from beaches being reopened," Goldfinch said. "The retail, you know, it may be a little more on the risky side."

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Tim Smith owns Papa Jazz, a music store, in Five Points. 

He and his staff have been relying on online sales after being forced to close due to the coronavirus.

"Fortunately, we've been able to pay the bills," Smith said.

Now, he worries that opening too soon could be dangerous.

RELATED: Lawmaker asks governor to reopen South Carolina beaches

"To me it's a little rushed, you know? A rush to reopen if we're not sure if we've hit the peak yet," Smith said. "If we just have to close again in another few weeks because this isn't over, it's going to be a lot worse.... I guess we're waiting to see what the city decides to do."

City of Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin says they're not ruling anything out ahead of the new order.

"We have to see what the order looks like and, if it's something that we believe is going to harm public health and potential cost more lives, then I wouldn't rule out that we would act in a different way," Benjamin said.

RELATED: Stay-at-home order now in effect in Columbia

He added that the Columbia city council will meet on Tuesday to discuss the measure and decide how to proceed from there. 

News 19 reached out to the governor's office for comment, but they did not respond.

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