Virus Outbreak South Carolina

South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman addresses the initial gathering of accelerateSC, a group tasked with advising Gov. Henry McMaster on safely scaling the state's economy back up amid the new coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Columbia, S.C.

(The Center Square) – Salons, gyms and barbershops in South Carolina that plan to reopen next week will have a different feel to them after the state issued guidelines on how such businesses should proceed.

The steps are aimed at continuing to slow the spread of coronavirus, primarily through social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment. As of Friday, there are 8,189 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 371 deaths statewide.

Hair and nail salons and barbershops will ask clients to make appointments and then text or call when they arrive. Those clients will have to wait in their vehicles until they are notified to come inside to ensure social distancing in waiting areas.

Employees must wear face masks and provide them for customers who do not have their own. Barbershops, meanwhile, can provide only haircuts and cannot give facial trims.

Chairs, shampoo bowls and other equipment has to be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Walk-ins and new clients are not allowed for the time being.

Gym and fitness center employees will have to wear masks, but people working out will not be required to do so. Such facilities also have to set up a regular cleaning schedule and cordon off equipment or machines that are closer than 6 feet apart.

Recommendations for reopening schools could be in place by early June, South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman told media.

Some proposed ideas include keeping students in one classroom the entire day, not filling buses to capacity and staggering schedules to create social distancing. Spearman said the recommendations will be more of a “menu” of best practices as compared to across-the-board mandates.

“I know we’re looking into a crystal ball and that’s difficult,” she said. “No one knows what the virus will do come August.”

Several efforts are focused on students in kindergarten through third grade, as education officials believe that is the most crucial time for students to perform at grade level standards. One proposal is to offer four-week math and reading camps in July, either in-person or online.

Police are investigating how $140,000 worth of tobacco and cellphones were smuggled into a Columbia prison where visitation has been suspended since March. Guards found six garbage bags filled with 56 pounds of tobacco, 37 cellphones and 37 cellphone chargers on prison grounds.

Corrections officials also said parole hearings will resume in early June after a two-month hiatus. Hearings will be held virtually, with those canceled in March and April to be rescheduled first.