CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg provided an update on the city’s response to COVID-19 and detailed plans regarding a reopening strategy.
The city’s plan calls for three steps:
RED: A shutdown to stop the spread – this step is currently underway
YELLOW: A strategic reopening to prevent future outbreaks.
GREEN: Fully restoring the economy with added resilience.
Mayor Tecklenburg said before a strategic reopening can begin, certain conditions must be put into place. He said evidence must show that the rate of infection in our community is low.
To do that, we must have widespread testing and robust contact tracing. “If someone tests positive, we still need the ability to track down where they’ve been, do the investigation and figure out how to keep the virus from spreading again,” he said.
He said it’s also important to prevent the spread to those who are most vulnerable in our community. “We need special protecting in nursing homes and senior citizen centers – especially for those who have underlying health issues.”
Then the city can reopen most businesses and public spaces with continued social distancing and limits on crowd size.
Leaders will also form a regional recovery task force with medical, business and community leaders who would provide guidance as we move forward. Mayor Tecklenburg said that process has already begun with the Charleston Regional Developmental Alliance, which formed many years ago when the Charleston Navy Base closed.
“They are willing to step up to the plate and partner with the chamber and healthcare providers and put the infrastructure and protocols in place for our businesses to reopen,” he said.
Once a vaccine or treatment is readily available, Mayor Tecklenburg said we can fully restore our economy with a more resilient future in mind.
Businesses and government operations will return to normal and citizens can resume all activities, including travel and social gathering.
Governments will maintain investments in public health infrastructure set to protect the community against future pandemics.
Mayor Tecklenburg said its not as easy as flipping a switch to get back to normal, but it’s going to be a new world for while.