Restaurants and bars across the nation are shutting back down due to service industry workers testing positive for COVID-19. Yesterday, Governor Henry McMaster announced South Carolina’s solution for this — the Palmetto Priority program, which is a checklist of precautions outlined in the restaurant reopening guidelines. Restaurants must apply for Palmetto Priority endorsement through the website and in return, the state will send the establishment an official Palmetto Priority decal.
While stickers in a restaurant window don’t necessarily mean the staff and customers are immune to COVID 19, the decals will signify that the restaurant underwent a series of measures put forth by the state, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
In order to meet the requirements, establishments must make the following changes:
Post required signage advising customers not to enter if symptomatic
Appropriate signage to promote social distancing and walking traffic patterns
Select one person per shift to be in charge of safety and sanitation during the shift, observing and ensuring that hand washing is done appropriately, and sanitation of dining room areas, restrooms, lobbies and door areas is done regularly and consistently (minimum of hourly).
Signs reminding of hand hygiene and proper hand-washing posted for customers and staff
Execute the restaurants plan to clean and disinfect common areas and surfaces regularly using chemicals appropriate for COVID-19 disinfection
Health safety checks for all employees before each shift
Each employee is required to wear a face-covering (i.e., cloth or paper face coverings, face masks, full face shields)
Hand sanitizing stations will be available to all customers and employees, including upon entry
Parties will maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other parties at all times, except when seated at tables or booths with partitions.
Only provide condiments (consider using PC products when appropriate), silverware, flatware, glassware, or other traditional tabletop items upon service/request. When the table is unoccupied all items should be removed
Tables are cleaned and disinfected in between seating
Self-service items such as buffets or drink stations are eliminated unless an attendant is provided to serve those items to guests or to supervise the use of gloves by the patrons
Menus are available digital, single-use or disinfected between guests
In addition to these, managers must take a 13-minute online course in sanitation practices and participate in a food sanitation check from DHEC (the visit may be virtual). If the restaurants do all of this, then the state will send the establishment a Palmetto Priority sticker to let customers know that they are trying to keep COVID-19 away, but, of course, there can’t be guarantees — especially since customers still don’t have to wear masks.
• Restaurants Across the Country Are Closing After Workers Test Positive for COVID-19 [EN]
• SC Governor Announces ‘Palmetto Priority’ Program Focused on Restaurant Safety [WRAL5]
• Palmetto Priority [Official]