SC lawmakers continue to mull over issues impacting reopening; businesses want liability protection

Local News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The road to recovery in South Carolina is a long one, but progress is being made. Many businesses have reopened, but lawmakers are finding out many others are unable to.

Key business related organizations spent Thursday afternoon explaining to lawmakers the problems in the way of reopening.

“We’re still very unsure of where this is going to go because we don’t know the longevity of this virus or the waves they talked about,” said Rebecca Leach, the executive director of the SC Retail Association.

For starters, businesses are pushing for more access to more rapid COVID-19 testing. The turn around now is between 3-5 days to get results back.

Leach continued, “Of course, while you’re waiting you’re supposed to be quarantining so you don’t spread it. And if you’re quarantining, you can’t work if you’re in retail.”

Businesses also want temporary liability protection. Many are concerned the pandemic makes businesses more vulnerable to claims the virus was contracted at a business. There is also a push for product liability protection.

Sara Hazzard explained, “At the outset of this pandemic, states across the country quickly recognized the short supply and need of personal protection equipment. Many of our manufacturers responded to the call and repurposed their operations.”

Child care is another obstacle that may prevent employees from returning to work.

Hazzard added, “In addition to child care centers, as we continue to learn more about school reopen plans and how they vary by individual school districts, we are closely monitoring how this will impact manufacturers employees and operations.”

Lawmakers will address these issues when they return to the State House in September, including possibly allocating money in the budget for the unemployment trust fund and grants for small businesses.

Other items businesses want lawmakers to address include extending a temporary change that allows curbside pickup for alcoholic beverages.

And money for businesses that have not qualified for other loans and grants offered by the federal government.

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