AIKEN, SC (WJBF) – A South Carolina DHEC official spoke with leaders in Aiken County about the impact of COVID-19. As increasing numbers among cases and deaths happen, it is raising some important questions.
With COVID-19 cases and deaths increasing in the Palmetto State, the question remains will there be another shutdown? And if there is, can local businesses survive?
NewsChannel 6 spoke with Cindy Rudisill, Cyndi’s Sweet Shoppe Owner, about how she would survive in the event the state had another shut down.
“Seriously, I don’t know. I don’t know,” she replied. “Because there’s not going to be low interest loans out there.”
Rudisill survived the weeks that the pandemic forced her store to shut its doors. She said that was in part due to things such as the Paycheck Protection Program, a small business loan issued by the federal government to stimulate the economy. But the thought of another forced closure left her without many words.
“I don’t have a crystal ball,”she said. “I wish that I did, but I don’t. I would definitely try to make the best of the situation.”
For now, she told us her best is to keep customers and workers safe.
“When you come into our shop, your hands will be sanitized. We cannot enforce anyone to wear a mask. Do we suggest it? Do we appreciate it? Absolutely,” she told us.
The candy store in downtown Aiken is among many businesses doing all they can to stay safe. Tailgate Tavern shut its doors this week and is warning customers who visited since June 17 to get tested after an employee tested positive there.
The uncertainty brought Aiken Rotary Club to invite State Epidemiologist Linda Bell to speak at its monthly meeting, now conducted online.
Bell told them, “What we’ve learned is that people without symptoms can spread the virus.”
She added it’s not just the droplets people need to worry about, but when people talk or breathe, COVID-19 spreads. She told the group younger people need to know that it impacts them too, so it’s vital they protect themselves to keep others safe.
NewsChannel 6 wanted to know if there would be another shutdown with rising numbers. Governor McMaster’s Office reports “he has no intention of imposing further restrictions on South Carolina Businesses.” And noted “he has halted consideration of lifting existing restrictions on activities and businesses that necessitate mass gatherings.”
Bell said there is a reason why we see numbers going up after businesses reopened around Memorial Day.
“Unfortunately, those occurred without the widespread adoption of the recommended health measures of the use of masks,” she said.
We will continue to follow the cases and deaths in South Carolina and continue to report on local businesses.