COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – After nearly six months of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, people can visit relatives and friends in South Carolina nursing homes and residential care facilities. But there will be no hugs and kisses and they’ll have to meet outside. Gov. Henry McMaster announced new guidelines for visitation Tuesday, which require guests to give full contact information and pass a temperature check. They also require no COVID-19 cases in staff or residents in the past two weeks as well as social distancing and masks worn at all times. South Carolina’s monthlong decline in COVID-19 cases has leveled off in recent days as students return to school and the Labor Day holiday looms.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – An official says charges have been dropped against dozens of protesters arrested May 31 during demonstrations in Charleston, South Carolina, against racism and police brutality. News outlets report the charges filed against 27 protesters were for curfew violations or failure to disperse. Police arrested a total of 41 people that night. Charges for those accused of committing other crimes are still pending. At least six people were also arrested Saturday during a protest over the Wisconsin police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake. Authorities say protesters marched on roads and impeded traffic. Most were charged with disobeying a lawful order.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A police officer in South Carolina’s capital city has been fired two days after videos were posted on social media showing him saying a racial slur during a confrontation outside a bar. A disciplinary panel unanimously agreed Monday that Columbia Police Sgt. Chad Walker broke department policies concerning neglect of duty and courtesy. Walker, who is white, was heard several times on his own body camera video and videos from other people saying the racial slur Saturday. He says someone at the bar he was trying to close for the night called him the same slur.
UNDATED (AP) – As the nation awaits a vaccine to end the pandemic, local health departments say they lack the staff, money and tools to distribute, administer and track millions of vaccines, most of which will require two doses. Dozens of doctors, nurses and health officials interviewed by Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press expressed concern about the country’s readiness to conduct mass vaccinations, as well as frustration after months of inconsistent information from the federal government. Questions include who will distribute the vaccines, how doses will be tracked and how workers who give the shots will be kept safe.