South Carolina COVID-19 Update

May 13, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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For a complete look at federal and state action related to the coronavirus, visit MWC’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Facts and Resources website.

On Monday, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced the limited capacity opening of close contact service providers, gyms, and pools beginning May 18 as long as businesses implement social distancing and sanitizing measures. Close contact service providers include the following businesses: 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. State employees will also begin returning to work in phases beginning June 1.

Continuing Resolution and COVID Response Funding Passes

The House and Senate returned to Columbia on Tuesday, adopting the continuing resolution to keep the state funded at current levels for the upcoming fiscal year. The bill also includes $25 million for the Medical University of South Carolina to assist the state with a statewide expansion of COVID-19 testing. Legislators additionally provided $155 million in one-time surplus money to a COVID-19 reserve account.

The upcoming state elections were also addressed on Tuesday; the legislature approved up to $15 million to ensure that poll workers and voters are safe when the polls open in June and November. Voters in the state’s June primary will also have the option to request an absentee ballot based on social distancing during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The sine die resolution was also approved, setting out specifications for what items may be taken up when the legislature returns. Leadership plans to call legislators back to Columbia for six legislative days between September 15-24 to pass the state’s budget, and to consider legislation that passed from one body to another by May 14. Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) stated on Tuesday that the House will return earlier than September in order to allow committees to meet and to make up some of the legislative days that were missed this year due to the pandemic.