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One Region releases initial guidelines to reopen Lowcountry

Staff //May 14, 2020//

One Region releases initial guidelines to reopen Lowcountry

Staff //May 14, 2020//

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A Lowcountry group of business leaders has released the first phase of guidelines to opening the region’s economy, aligned with the Gov. Henry McMaster’s AccelerateSC task force.

One Region launched its plan to reopen the Charleston area’s economy, called Reignite, earlier this month. One Region is a strategic planning group coordinated by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance to ensure the Lowcountry is globally competitive.

Gen. Hank Taylor, chairman of One Region, said it makes sense for the strategic planning group to lead the reopening of the Lowcountry because One Region already had a committee of the area’s business leaders.

Additionally, Taylor said, reopening the tri-county economy aligns well with One Region’s core values: creating a strong, resilient economy; creating opportunities for residents to live, work and learn; balancing growth with the region’s character; and creating a connected community.

“I think if you look at those values now and you look at the challenges that’s been presented by the public health challenge in addition to an economic challenge, those values are certainly apropos,” Taylor said.

The first part of Reignite, which lays out three phases for the Lowcountry’s full economic recovery, is focused on a phased reopening of the region’s economy.

Initial guidelines put out by One Region include recommendations for small businesses and the food and beverage industry, both of which have been slowly reopening statewide.

Guidelines include sanitizing common and high-traffic areas; temperature checks for employees; social distancing and personal protective equipment; limitations on business travel; and training staff on new procedures, among other recommendations.

The guidelines were developed using a set of best practices and public health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Medical University of South Carolina.

“Employees and customers need to feel confident their health and safety is paramount,” CRDA Chairman John Hagerty said in a news release. “Acting together as One Region, we can reopen quickly, safely, and rebuild our thriving economic and social community.”

Taylor said One Region has no set timeline for when the next phase, which is focused on staying under the crisis curve, will begin.

“I think it’s just like everything else with this virus; we’re learning as we go,” he said. “And certainly the first objective is to be safe. … I think it’s going to be as we learn and experience things that will really drive how we progress.”

Reignite has several health metrics included in the phase one plan that will help guide the region’s progress.

“The whole objective is for us to take on the public health challenge along with the economic challenge, to do that safely,” Taylor said. “We have a balanced approach where we’re taking care of each other but at the same time getting back to commerce.”