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SC governor speaks on virus, reopening economy

AccelerateSC was formed last month to come up with ways to quickly and safely reopen the state's economy.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster hosted Tuesday what appears to be the final in-person meeting of his task force designed to get the state's economy back up and running.

The AccelerateSC group presented their findings to the entire group during Tuesday's meeting. Those findings will then be put together in a written report over the next 7 to 9 days. When its finished, the Accelerate members will review it, and then it will be sent to the governor. 

While the main part of their mission may be ending, McMaster said he would be reaching out to the members for advice in the coming months.

AccelerateSC was formed last month to come up with ways to quickly and safely reopen the state's economy. It's supposed to conduct its work over a 30 day period. 

South Carolina has already gone a long way to reopening. On Monday, "close contact" businesses were allowed to reopen. That group includes barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, and massage services. Commercial gyms can also open, including yoga studios, barre classes, and others.

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Already, there were signs that customers were ready for that sector to reopen: There were numerous examples of barbershop and salons having a high demand of clients, and gyms were seeing a return of members. 

The businesses must adhere to safety guidelines, including sanitization and social distancing requirements. 

McMaster first started lifting restrictions last month in a phased approach that he says is based on data and science. On April 20, he reopened all retail stores, albeit with social distancing restrictions, and allowed beaches to reopen as well. 

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On Monday, May 4, McMaster lifted the state's mandatory home or work order with had been in place for nearly a month, changing it to voluntary. He also allowed outdoor dining at restaurants to resume that same day.  A week later, indoor dining was permitted again, albeit with restrictions including a 50 percent limit on capacity. 

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McMaster also announced that some state employees who'd been working from home will start coming back now, with all of them expected to be back by June 1.