SC Legislative Update – 4/29/20

Provided by Ben Homeyer

Please find today’s Legislative Update below – lots of information so reach out in the CRMCA LinkedIn Group with additional questions.

Note: The full group is going to meet tomorrow and then there will be meetings again next week.

The response group of accelerateSC met today.  This is the business group that is part of the larger group.  In the dept of Commerce survey which was discussed with no surprise businesses overwhelmingly said they want to and need to open before the damage is so great that they will not recover.   They also discussed how 52% of all child care facilities are closed and that is a major inhibitor to business being able to open.

They are recommending the following:

  • that outdoor seating for restaurants open on May 4th.  People would still not be able to eat inside yet.
  • It is the hope by the week of May 18th they could open indoor seating with limited seating (25% of the restaurant space mentioned).   However they don’t have guidance from dhec yet.  If a restaurant could be fully sanitized and staffed by the week of the 11th they could potentially open by then.
  • Servers would have to wear gloves, potentially masks, get regular temperature tests.  No condiments or even salt and pepper on tables, paper menus, limited touching of plates, cups, etc.
  • They haven’t figured out hotel openings yet.  They know that national hotel chains are coming out with massive new guidelines for their hotels to open.
  • Working with DHEC, OSHA, CDC and others to find out best practices to open close quarters businesses such as barber shops and Salons
  • They don’t know if that means gloves and masks with sanitizer everywhere or what exactly
    • They have not thought thru how to do training or monitoring of these businesses.
  • They are hoping to start taking reservations again for short term rentals
    • They are trying to get a guidelines in regards to hot spot states such as new York, new jersey and Connecticut.
    • Lot of concern over the availability of PPE for the industry

Malloy asked about how will a small business get PPE when they don’t have access like some larger businesses do.

  • Secretary Hitt stated that if the state were to buy a 90 day supply to cover all workers with masks it would cost the state roughly $200 million to do so. They are looking in to having companies make them in the State such as a line at BMW or looking at other places in the world to purchase.  They have been talking to Boeing about bringing them in from Japan.
  • Distribution has been discussed about using local armory’s and the state guard to distribute.
  • They did not look at the cost of gloves or other PPE
  • They do not have a solid answer as to how small business will get the supplies needed from local manufacturers as they have said they are filling the larger orders first.

Looking at guidelines and best practices for summer camps and day cares for the summer.

  • They are talking about having businesses reach out to non-profits to talk about using schools, gyms, etc that are not being used to have child care centers set up there to help let folks go back to work.

Recalling employees was discussed

  • A $15 employee will make $300 in state UI and then another $600 in federal dollars.
  • Little incentive for employees to go back to work as employers will not be penalized for not telling DEW employees have been recalled
  • Under current law DEW can’t mandate that employees send notice to them about recalled employees.
  • The Chamber spoke and said they won’t fight employees on this because come July 1 when the money is supposed to go away they don’t want adversarial employees coming back.
  • DEW is putting more information about this up on their website

Senators Graham and Scott joined the conversation

  • They put the July 31 date in to try and keep folks from milking the UI system.
  • Talked about how benefits can be turned off if folks don’t come back.  Even though they can still get unemployment they won’t get benefits
  • Looking at liability protection at federal level.  Claims if there is another bill it should be a part
  • A third round of small business money for main street businesses
  • Talked about a safe harbor from law suits in the state if a group is using best practices.
  • Wants to rebuild the American medical supply chain.
  • Biggest concern is if we open how will it effect hospitals as the concern is they will overwhelm the system.

Tim Scott is presidential task force to deal with retail, restaurants and tourism and how to get them back open.

He is looking at tax incentives dealing with how to get more consumers back in the economy.