Greenville removes benches in attempt to curb COVID spread

Local News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — The City of Greenville is taking continued measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. They’re getting creative when it comes to high-touch spaces in the city.

High trafficked areas, like corners and by the Reedy River, are seeing some changes.

“We had a bench here and there was one down here as well,” Steve Boone, the owner of Trio’s, said.

Boone said the benches near his business were moved about six months ago.

“Our corner may be a little more high profile and they started with us,” he said.

The city removed additional benches on the corner of McBee and also under a bridge more recently.

“In the places where we see people tending to gather together, want to sit, want to have community. We’re trying to take some of those away strategically,” Beth Brotherton with the city said.

She said it’s all in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“Benches are really hard to keep clean, and hard to keep safe. With a lot of people touching them and a lot of people sitting down,” Brotherton said.

She said city works sanitize and power wash the benches, but the ones that were removed couldn’t get cleaned often enough.

Boone said the removal of the benches near Trio help with more than just COVID-19.

“If people are dining, they want to be left alone. And sometimes these guys will come up and ask for money, ask for food and that kind of stuff,” Boone said.

But, he said, removing certain benches only moves the problem elsewhere.

“People are going to find somewhere to sit, and I mean a lot of people do come downtown to just hang out,” he said.

Brotherton said the city is finding solutions there too.

“We work closely with our community partners to make sure our homeless community has a safer place to sleep,” she said.

Meanwhile she wants to remind those enjoying downtown to maintain safe distances.

“Just recognize that the city is taking all the precautions we can for COVID safety and we hope our citizens will help us in that respect,” Brotherton said.

The benches that have been removed may eventually be put back, but for now, they will remain in storage.

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