I hope this update finds you, your family, and friends healthy and well. Since my initial update last week on South Carolina’s response to COVID-19, the state has made several changes to try and make it easier for businesses and individuals to navigate all the state government departments that are responding to the pandemic. 

The state has consolidated that information on the Department of Commerce’s website which you can access by clicking here. On the home page you will see the box pictured, and you can click on ” Find Resources .”

Regarding Unemployment Insurance, the Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) released its first numbers today. Click here for the full report. A department that normally handles about 1,700 claims per week was hit with 31,000 claims last week and obviously a lot more are expected. 

One tip – the fastest way to get benefits for an employee is for the employer to go online and complete the claim for them. It takes a couple of steps out of the process. The maximum benefit per week in S.C. is $300, but with what it appears Congress is passing, these employees should be okay once the additional benefits kick in from the Federal side.

I am also attaching the release from the Governor’s office that was sent out this morning with some updates on numbers from several different departments. It also shows a bullet point summary of the Federal Relief bill that makes it easier to understand. Click here to access today’s update from the Governor’s Office .

Regarding Shelter in Place, which a lot of people are already doing, the Governor wants to try and avoid that scenario. We have seen some municipalities take a stance on the local level, and expect more to come.  I have received many emails supporting Shelter in Place, but I have also received a lot from small businesses that want to be able to continue to work in a safe manner.  I am sharing all the feedback I receive with the Governor. 

On a local level, a few of us from the Greenville County delegation had the opportunity to visit and meet with the Greenville County Office of Emergency Management (GCEM) on Monday.  We were able to address some of their concerns with information and assistance from the state level.   Click here to visit their website.

Obviously,Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is still a need. The other concern is keeping our first responders safe. They usually work in teams, so if one gets COVID-19, the others will have to go in to quarantine until their testing is completed. We are working to get that process sped up so that we don’t run short-handed. You can rest assured – the team at GCEM is prepared and dedicated to serving Greenville County.

If at any time you need help working with state government through this crisis, please give my office a call at (803) 212-6148. Either me or my assistant, Ja’vell Bynoe, will be glad to help.  

As old and “Groundhog Day” as it seems, we all need to keep practicing social distancing, washing our hands, avoid touching our face with unwashed hands, and remembering to cough/sneeze into our elbows.

I hope everyone remains healthy and I will continue to update you as new information becomes available.