Grants, liability protections and more child care; a few recommendations from House employment committee

State News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- South Carolina lawmakers have been working non stop to find solutions to problems businesses and industries are facing as they attempt to reopen during the pandemic.

After weeks of testimony from the business community, a special House committee has now come up with a list of recommendations to protect businesses from COVID-19 related lawsuits and help them reopen and recover.

“This committee to address issues small business in the state and workforce are confronting because of the pandemic,” said Representative Beth Bernstein, a member of the House COVID-19 Employment, Workforce, and Business Recovery Committee.

One issue businesses face is financial hardship. So, the committee is recommending a grant program to help small minority owned businesses, which are at greater risk of closing permanently because of COVID-19.

Representative JA Moore explained the importance of this effort. “In Berkeley and Charleston counties create so much of the culture in the Lowcountry that we are used to. We take it for granted often.”

The committee is also addressing access to child care. Committee members are recommending additional funding and voucher options.

Moore continued, “It’s something you don’t hear a lot when you talk about business, but it’s a vital component especially in a once in a lifetime pandemic when you have so many schools not opening.”

One of the major issues that businesses want addressed is liability. Committee members say they support lawsuit protections for businesses that are following current CDC and DHEC guidelines.

Representative Bernstein added, “It’s important to feel trust in our businesses that they’re following the guidelines, but we also want our businesses to feel protected and not have the fear of opening up.”

South Carolina lawmakers will be back at the state house in September to handle last minute business related to the state’s response to the coronavirus, including this list of recommendations.

The committee also wants to invest more in non-profit organizations that have been helping families during the pandemic and to expand curbside pickup for alcohol. The suggestion of even allowing for the delivery of alcohol has been brought up.

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