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SC restaurants increase safety with Palmetto Priority pledge

Over 1600 SC restaurants are now participating in the Palmetto Priority pledge for safe dining, according to Governor Henry McMaster.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state, restaurants are taking increased measures to keep customers safe.

At the end of June, Governor Henry McMaster announced the Palmetto Priority pledge where participating restaurants could dedicate themselves to safe dining practices during the pandemic.

RELATED: SC restaurants to carry sticker saying if they follow COVID guidelines

Since then, he says, more than 1600 restaurants have started participating. Eggs Up Grill and Urban Cookhouse on Devine Street are among them.

"A lot of the stuff we've already been doing," Max Morris with Eggs Up Grill said, "but employees in face masks, back-house members in gloves, sanitizing all of our non-single-use items, using as many single-use items as we can. We disinfect the restaurant at the end of every shift... just to really ensure that we're doing everything that we can to make sure that we're providing a safe environment for everybody that joins us."

RELATED: SC restaurants now able to reopen for indoor dining

To qualify, participating restaurants should have a food and safety inspection, health and safety checks for employees, face coverings for staff and have taken an online education course with tips to keep customers safe, among other things.

"We already had a lot of the checklist items, but we just added to them," Scott Gandy with Urban Cookhouse said. "Hand sanitizer for our employees..... We clean our bathrooms on a regular basis. They recommend an hour. We go every 30 minutes or faster than that if we need to."

RELATED: 1,463 new SC virus cases, 8 additional deaths

Once completed, they’ll earn a blue and white sticker.

Credit: Palmetto Priority

"I just hope they'll feel comfortable coming in and knowing that we've taken those precautions to keep them safe," Gandy said.

Frank Wilder and his wife Cheree were out dining Sunday.

RELATED: Richland County passes public face mask rule

"I didn't know about this, but since we do know about it now, we're appreciative of it," Wilder said. "We're looking at it from a perspective that they're trying to protect their customers and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and we're for that."

Craig Lockes agreed.

"I just think it's a good thing,” Lockes said. "It just keeps everybody safe, the staff and the customers."

RELATED: Sumter passes mandatory face mask rule for retail, dining

He added that, although the sticker is a plus, he wouldn’t stay away just because a place doesn’t have it.

“I would still go in, just as long as everybody’s like, you can see them physically cleaning stuff,” Lockes said.

Customers can go to PalmettoPriority.com to see a full list of participating restaurants and lodge a complaint, if they see a restaurant that isn't complying.

Three strikes and those businesses will lose their seal.