South Carolinians who've been waiting to go on pony rides, play miniature golf and visit waterparks over Memorial Day weekend got good news Wednesday. Gov. Henry McMaster announced that certain tourist attractions in the state can reopen Friday after being closed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
New safety guidelines will be issued for those businesses.
"We can't keep things closed forever," McMaster said Wednesday. "The Constitution won't allow it. Neither does common sense, and neither does the economy."
It's the latest round of safety restrictions McMaster has loosened in recent weeks. Zoos, museums, aquariums, historic sites and amusements park rides are also included the governor's amended executive order. As of Wednesday evening, the Carowinds amusement park, which straddles the North Carolina-South Carolina border near Charlotte, had not announced plans to reopen.
The new rules don't ease restrictions on night clubs, concert venues, bowling alleys or theaters. McMaster, though, said some close-contact recreational sports – think flag football or soccer – can resume May 30, although just for practice. Competition in those sports could resume June 15.
A full list of what's covered in McMaster's order can be found at acclerate.sc.gov.
McMaster said after a meeting of the state's Acclerate SC taskforce on Tuesday that allowing tourist attractions to open in time for the holiday weekend was a good idea, according to The State.
As for concerns that reopening more tourist attractions would attract more visitors, McMaster said "it'll give them more places to go." The move comes after some South Carolina beaches were swamped with visitors this past weekend.
As of Wednesday evening, South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control was reporting 9,175 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 407 related deaths in the state.
About 138,200 tests for the virus had been completed by then, including 2,270 on Tuesday. Of those, about 6% came back positive for the virus.
There's no vaccine for the coronavirus.
"This is a dangerous, dangerous disease, a dangerous virus," McMaster said, urging people to continue do things like wash their hands and maintain social distancing.
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