COLUMBIA, SC (WCBD) – Earlier this week Governor Henry McMaster announced the creation of accelerateSC. It’s a special team responsible for moving SC forward during this coronavirus crisis.
Thursday, accelerateSC met for the first time to hear details on the current state of SC’s economy.
South Carolina’s economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve never experienced anything like this before,” said Gov. McMaster addressing the more than two dozen business owners, educators and health professionals on Accelerate SC.
Almost half of the state’s hotels have closed and revenue from international visitors in the state has decreased by 90% because of the coronavirus.
“You see what happened to hotel occupancy it’s down to 20-30%. Obviously that is not sustainable over a period of time,” explained Duane Parrish with SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
The tourism industry predicts a 50% decrease in revenue this year and more than 300,000 people have filed for unemployment.
“We were at 3% unemployment so we have been hurt very dramatically,” said Bobby Hitt with the Department of Commerce.
Each industry expressed challenges at the meeting.
For the hospitality industry, it’s defining the new normal for dine-in restaurants and entertainment venues, for the manufacturing industry it’s preventing an outbreak in a plant.
Hitt added, “I don’t know how we can test 4,000 people walking into a BMW plant and how do you do it.”
AccelerateSC will discuss these issues moving forward and develop recommendations for the governor as he continues to reopen the state.
The subgroups of this team: the response, protection, governance and resource groups will start meeting independently next week.