Coronavirus: The latest local updates, cancellations, resources, + more

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Health + Hospitals

For 40+ years, horseshoe crab blood has helped make the Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) test. This test can help determine if there are dangerous toxins present in new vaccines or other materials created by researchers. Read more about the role the horseshoe crab may play in the COVID-19 vaccine here. (Greenville News) 

CVS is adding more than 2,000 new COVID-19 testing sites nationwide including seven for South Carolina and three right here in the Upstate. See the new locations here. (FOX Carolina)

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Prisma Health will offer reduced-cost flu shots at hospitals, mobile clinics, and other sites in 11 counties from the Upstate to the Midlands. You can get more information here. (Greenville News)

○ SCDHEC announced that the organization is launching a new immunization information system that will help ensure access + availability of essential immunizations to everyone in SC. The Statewide Immunization Online Network (SIMON) will provide a streamlined process for immunization providers to manage vaccine inventory in addition to providing patient reminders and offering a patient portal to view immunization records. (WLTX)

SCDHEC announced a transition in leadership of its deputy area of Public Health. Dr. Brannon Traxler, formerly the Chief Medical Officer for the state’s COVID-19 response, will assume the role of interim director of Public Health following Dr. Joan Duwve’s decision to move on from her role as the agency’s Public Health Director.

SCDHEC announced the agency + several key partners are developing a statewide COVID-19 vaccination testing plan in accordance with federal guidance. The overarching goal of this vaccination plan will be the equitable distribution of vaccines across the state. (WCSC)

Prisma Health recently reported that hospitalizations because of COVID-19 are down from where they were at the beginning of the summer. There were 308 patients hospitalized with the health system on July 17. However, Prisma Health emphasized the importance of staying vigilant against the virus as inpatient numbers are currently hovering over 100. (FOX Carolina)

SCDHEC announced new guidelines for limited outdoor visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities statewide. These facilities must ensure there have been no COVID-19 cases among staff + residents in the facility within the last 14 days in order to allow visitations. As of yesterday, there are 90 nursing homes in the state that meet this criteria. Get more details here.

Yesterday, SCDHEC announced updated recommendations for COVID-19 testing encouraging anyone who would like to be tested to get tested. In addition, SCDHEC recommends routine testing of individuals with known exposures or concerns about exposures. To view a list of SCDHEC testing sites locally, click here.

Just Cause Scrubs, an Upstate-based online retailer of medical scrubs + uniforms, has announced “Healthcare Heroes Scrubs & Staycation Giveaway” in partnership with Aloft Downtown Greenville and Larkin’s. The contest is designed to recognize and reward healthcare heroes in our area who have played an integral part in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. One Grand Prize winner will be selected to win a two-night stay at Aloft Downtown Greenville, a $150 Larkin’s gift card, and a year’s worth of scrubs valued at $1,000.00. Learn more here.

SCDHEC recently shared a study conducted by Duke University that shows neck gaiters may be one of the least effective types of face coverings you can wear. Learn more here. (WYFF 4) 

○ You can now get a non-invasive COVID-19 saliva test here in Greenville at Premier Medical Laboratory Services’ drive-thru testing site located at 6000 Pelham Rd. The test starts at $75 + results are typically ready in less than 48 hours. No appointment needed. Click here for more information.

○ The SC Department of Mental Health created a toll-free service line for Spanish speakers. The anonymous Spanish support line is available Monday – Friday from 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., with the exception of state holidays. (Cola Daily)

○ The City of Greenville has installed 25 new hand sanitizing stations downtown – from Fluor Field to One City Plaza – to help stop the spread of germs that can cause COVID-19.  

○ SCDHEC released a new data report that shows areas where wearing a face mask is required have experienced a “46.3% greater decrease in the total number of COVID-19 cases during a four-week period after those requirements were implemented” when compared to areas without mask requirements. (CRBR)

Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) has begun testing water samples from their Mauldin Road facility for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. ReWa is an early adopter of this testing technology across the nation. This testing is in the early stages, but ReWa intends to share this data with government agencies, public health groups, and more.

SCEMD have launched a new tool to help keep track of which local communities have mask ordinances. Click the link here to check it out.

SCDHEC is encouraging all SC residents to respond to legitimate contact tracing calls + emails from public health officials, while remaining vigilant against scams. Legitimate contact tracing includes two components: case investigations and contact monitoring. If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer from DHEC will call you – and only ask you these questions.

Additionally, remaining aware of potential scam attempts is important. A contact tracer will never ask for your social security numbermoney, bank account or credit card number, or immigrant status. If you are concerned about whether a caller is a real DHEC official, verify their identity by asking them to send you an email (the address should end with @dhec.sc.govor calling the DHEC regional epidemiology office to confirm the caller’s name and credentials. Learn about reporting potential scams here.

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System is offering free, no-order COVID-19 testing at its Spartanburg COVID-19 testing facility (the former Spartanburg Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dealership at 1035 N. Church St.) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. For a complete list of COVID-19 test sites in SC, click here.

Not sure if that wedding you’re supposed to go to next weekend is safe? Check out this interactive map from Georgia Tech + Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory. You can assess the risk levelestimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present” – for the event you’re considering attending by entering how many people will be there and where in the country it’s taking place. Try it here.

Milliken & Company is increasing its domestic production of the company’s advanced medical fabric – Milliken PerimeterTM. Milliken has distributed 10 million+ yards of reusable medical fabric to make personal protective equipment since March.

○ The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of products containing methanol (wood alcohol) – a substance that may be potentially fatal when ingested or absorbed through the skin – to 75 different hand sanitizers. Read more here. (WYFF 4) 

Having trouble getting your little ones to wear a mask? Check out these tips from Dr. Sarah McNemar at Parkside Pediatrics that might just do the trick. (FOX Carolina)  

○ SCDHEC launched a statewide campaign targeting youth + young adults to slow the spread of COVID-19. Officials say those between the ages of 21-30 account for 22% of confirmed cases, while those ages 11-20 account for 11% of confirmed cases. Learn more about the new “Mask Up” initiative here. (WCBD)

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 in SC, SCDHEC has created free, digital COVID-19 mask content that anyone can share on social media to encourage their friends + followers to wear a face covering in public. Social media posts, graphics, and videos can be found here.

○ SCDHEC + SCLLR announced last week that nursing graduates have been granted temporary authorization to practice without taking the NCLEX licensing exam, so they can assist health care facilities facing staffing shortages because of COVID-19. (FOX Carolina)

○ The City of Travelers Rest passed a face mask ordinance that went into effect on Sat., July 18. The ordinance requires customers at grocery stores and pharmacies + employees of retail and food service establishments within city limits to wear face coverings. Read more here. (WSPA)

○ SCDHEC reported the first pediatric death associated with COVID-19. SCDHEC also confirmed the state’s first cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children associated with COVID-19.

DHEC has launched mobile COVID-19 testing clinics. The testing sites are popping up across the state and all screenings + specimen collections will be free as part of an effort to increase testing in rural and underserved communities in our state. Locations can be found here + are updated frequently.

The Blood Connection is now offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing for free. The test works by using a sample of the donor’s blood to test for COVID-19 antibodies and will be offered to blood donors at all TBC donation centers + mobiles across SC, NC, and GA. More information here.

A new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site that is open to the public has opened in Greenville at Premier Medical Laboratory Services at 15 Commerce Center. The testing site will be open Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, click here.

A few years back, an Upstate couple created an app called YoDoc to help patients communicate with both family members + doctors through pictures. Chandar, an ICU physician, and Renita, an engineer, are now receiving renewed attention for their app, as COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators have to find ways to communicate nonverbally. Read more here. (WYFF 4)

DHEC is promoting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) COVID-19 Communicative Technology grant opportunity, which “supports virtual communication devices for safely connecting nursing home residents with their loved ones during this time.” You can read more + nursing homes can apply for the technology grant here.

Uninsured South Carolina residents can now apply for reimbursement of COVID-19 testing through the SC Department of Health and Human Services Limited Benefit Program. To qualify the test must be conducted by a healthcare provider who accepts Healthy Connections Medicaid. Those who were tested after March 18 may also apply for reimbursement. (WIS)

Planning to utilize one of the drive-thru coronavirus testing sites? Here’s what you need to know before you go. (The State)

To help eliminate any potential financial barriers to treatment and care during this difficult time, Bon Secours is suspending all COVID-19 related billing. No upfront payments related to any COVID-19 screening, testing or treatment will be required at the time of the service. Click here to read the full statement from the Bon Secours Health System. Prisma Health has also suspended all COVID-19 related billing. (WYFF 4)

 

Shopping + Retailers

The Haywood Mall + Gaffney Outlet Marketplace will not open on Thanksgiving Day this year according to Simon Property Group who owns both properties. (WYFF 4)

Black Friday will look different this year with some major retailers choosing to not open on Thanksgiving Day, including Walmart, Sam’s Club stores, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and more. You can read more here. (The State)

MarineMax Hall Marine Greenville says the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in record-setting boat sales for the business. A salesman for the company says they have sold 200 boats in five months (comparable to what they might normally sell in a year). (FOX Carolina) 

McDonald’s + Chipotle are among the latest national chains requiring customers to wear face coverings. Chipotle’s requirement went into effect on Friday, while customers will need to begin wearing face masks at McDonald’s starting Aug. 1. (WYFF 4)

Family Dollar + Dollar Tree are no longer requiring face masks inside their stores unless mandated by state or local rules. However, the stores still request that customers wear masks. (WCBD)

Greenville’s Sunshine Cycle Shop the Upstate’s oldest locally owned bike shop – announced they will be closing after 24 years. The pandemic has cleared out most of the shop’s “bread and butter” bikes (think family, kids, and Swamp Rabbit bikes) leaving them debt free + owner Mike McMillan with the perfect exit opportunity. They will continue to sell through remaining bikes up to Aug. 28 (or until they clear all inventory) and take bikes for service for a limited time.

 

Colleges + Universities

Last week, University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner told the UpfSC Board of Trustees that the school might be short of its projected $127 million revenue by $58 million because of COVID-19. Read more here. (The Post and Courier)

Greenville County Schools has made changes to how tickets for high school football games will be sold + distributed. You can read more here. (FOX Carolina)Clemson University announced last week that all homecoming activities have been cancelled + graduation ceremonies for May and August are rescheduled for Nov. 13-15. You can read more here. (WYFF 4)

Furman University has suspended its chapter of Kappa Alpha fraternity for at least four years after 60% of attendees at an unauthorized fraternity party tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, Furman is requiring all on-campus students to be tested for the coronavirus today. (FOX Carolina) 

○ After reports of two parties at the former Kappa Alpha fraternity house, 53 Furman University students have been told to quarantine. Eight students in connection with the parties have tested positive for COVID-19, while other students still await results. (Greenville News)

○ The University of South Carolina announced they will be administering saliva-based COVID-19 tests to as many as 2,400 students per day. This testing is available five days a week to students, faculty + staff for free. Results will be returned in just 24 hours. (Post and Courier)

○ UofSC’s COVID-19 dashboard is now live. The website reports current conditions on campus and shows a breakdown of total cases.

○ Furman University’s campusincluding the lake and other outdoor facilities, will remain closed to the general public because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furman’s website reads, “As soon as the health metrics in Greenville improve, we will be eager to reopen campus for limited access.” Click here for additional information.

Bob Jones University has announced they are postponing their August commencement. The university is taking survey feedback for a new date – potentially December 2020 or May 2021. (WSPA)

Tri-County Technical College (TCTC) has announced their plan for the fall term – TCTC Strong: Our Path Forward. Classes begin Aug. 17 and students will have eight different course delivery methods to choose from depending on their program and major. Most courses will have a combination of in-person + online learning. Read more here.

○ COVID-19 could end up costing Clemson University an estimated $135 million because of lost athletics revenue, lower fees for students, and expenses related to other mitigation efforts, but school officials say Clemson is “poised to weather the pandemic financially.” (The Post and Courier Greenville) 

Bob Jones University has announced new health safety protocols for the upcoming school year, including a partnership with Prisma Health. You can read more here.

Plans + requirements for returning students to Clemson University have been announced. All students + university employees will be required to wear face coverings in certain circumstances on campus + all students and employees will be required to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus in the fall. You can read more here. (WYFF 4)

  Clemson University announced $25 million in refunds for students who cannot return to campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The prorated refunds will cover on-campus housing, dining plans and parking permits and are expected to be issued by the middle of April. (Fox Carolina)

Colleges and universities in S.C. will be getting several millions from the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. To see the full rundown on how this $12.56 billion stimulus package will be distributed, click the link here. (Greenville Journal)

 

Schools

SCDHEC will begin providing twice-weekly reports on the number COVID-19 cases associated with staff + students at public and private schools in SC starting Friday, Sept. 4. Click here to bookmark the page where the report will be published on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

Greenville County Schools will continuously update data for parents and guardians about the number of staff + students who test positive for COVID-19 in the school district here. #ProTip: Bookmark this page for easy access.

According to Greenville County Schools, when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they will be excluded from school for at least 10 days and asked to isolate. Contact tracing will begin immediately, and three types of notification will follow – Close Contact Notification, Not Close Contact Notification, and School-Wide Notification. Read more about these three notification types here

 Any Greenville County Schools family with medical conditions that might make a return to in-person learning unsafe will receive special consideration on being accepted to the district’s Virtual Program. Families must submit documentation from a certified medical professional of any such condition of a child or family member to qualify. More information here.

 The SC Department of Education + National Institute for Excellence in Teaching are hosting a virtual training for principals and teachers “to learn more about effective virtual teaching practices.” The training is funded for up to 6,000 educators through the CARES Act. Register here(Metro Columbia CEO)

Anderson University is adding two new staff members to their team that are focused on health and safety. Joining the Anderson University staff are a student care coordinator and a contact tracing specialist, both key parts of the university’s campus reopening plan.

○ Gov. McMaster announced that the state of South Carolina will distribute $10 million in PPE to 70 of SC’s 81 school districts. Some of the items include almost 150,000 face shields11,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, and over 900,000 different types of masks.

100,000+. The number of households in SC that could be receiving mobile hotspots and monthly internet service. A portion of the federal CARES Act funding will help provide the free internet to these SC homes through December 2020. Read more here. (WYFF 4)

The Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville + the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville are using different approaches when it comes to returning to school this fall. While the school in Hartsville has decided on an online only approach, the School for the Arts + Humanities is going to follow a “hybrid” plan. Read more on the plan here. (Herald-Journal)

The South Carolina Department of Education made some major announcements yesterday regarding busing for schools. Buses will be filled only to 50% of their normal maximum capacity, they will be filled from back to front, and all students and drivers will be expected to wear masks. (WYFF 4) 

Free + reduced price meals will be available for all eligible Greenville County Schools students regardless of what school attendance plan they choose to participate in this fall. The online application for free and reduced price meals is now available and can be found here.

○ Mobile hotspots + monthly internet access will be available to at least 100,000 SC families, through the end of this year, with priority given to households in counties with a school district having a poverty rate of at least 86%, as defined by the SC Department of Education. (WIS)

○ The South Carolina Band Directors Association announced that high school band championships (upper state, lower state + the state championship) have been cancelled for the 2020 season. Currently, a spring season is still a possibility. (The State)

Gov. Henry McMaster announced the creation of the Safe Access to Flexible Education (SAFE) Grants. Approximately 5,000 one-time grants of up to $6,500 will be awarded to subsidize tuition for eligible students at participating private, parochial, or independent schools in SC. (The State)

 

Reopenings

○ The Greenville County Library System has reopened three more branches (Five Forks, Mauldin, and Taylors) – perfect, since September is National Library Card Sign Up Month.

With Gov. McMaster’s recent decision to allow performing arts centers to reopen at half capacity, the South Carolina Children’s Theatre (SCCT) is evaluating a number of options for returning to live theatre. Give your feedback by taking their two-question survey here.

○ Yesterday, the Greenville County Library System announced that the Anderson Road, Greer, Simpsonville, and Travelers Rest branches have reopened.

○ The Governor also allowed businesses, facilities, venues, events, and mass gatherings to open on Aug. 3, with restrictions, including theaters, stadiums, amphitheaters, gymnasiums, and more. To view the guidelines + restrictions for each type of facility, click here.

Greenville County water parks have reopened to the public with new safety measures in place. Some of these new measures include color-coded tape to ensure social distancing in lines, pool chairs spread six feet apart, sanitation stations throughout the water parks, and more. You can read more here. (Greenville Journal)

The Greenville County Library System announced yesterday that the Hughes Main Library has reopened. Additionally, the Curbside Holds Pickup service has been expanded to all of the library branch locations. Hughes Main Library will be open for guests to use computers, browse books, and visits to the South Carolina Room by appointment. Masks will be required when entering the building and when getting assistance from library staff.

 

Cancellations + Event Announcements

If you have been missing theatre these past several months, then this one’s for you. The Warehouse Theatre has announced an original, Zoom-based performance titled OBJECTIVITY: From Clutter to Clarity with Mary Del Campo. The show will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 17, tickets are $25, and performances will be capped at 25 patrons. Click here to buy tickets.

Highlands Food & Wine Festival has been cancelled because of COVID-19. Event organizers have announced they will be hosting a music festival in the spring called Bear Shadow with several of the same musicians from this year’s festival on the roster. More information on ticket refunds and exchanges can be found here.

 Myrtle Beach’s Carolina Country Music Fest has officially been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Darius Rucker, Luke Combs, Eric Church + Jake Owen, this year’s headliners, are said to be returning June of 2021(Post and Courier)

○ The South Carolina State Fair will look very different this year, as event organizers have announced the annual SC tradition is to become a free, two-day, drive-thru event. There will be no rides, but attendees will still be able to purchase some favorite fair foods. Get more details here. (The Post and Courier)

Pique, Ten at the Top’s young professional event, has been postponed until 2021 because of COVID-19. The organization will hold monthly “Sneak Pique” virtual events leading up to the big in-person event next spring. For questions about ticket sales or refunds, contact Sharon Purvis via email.

○ The 43rd TD Bank Reedy River Run has been cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns. The Greenville Track Club will be contacting each participant via email with several options regarding their registration + refund. The 2021 race is scheduled for Sat., April 17 in downtown Greenville.

This year’s Bank of America Fall for Greenville festival has been cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns. The festival will now celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2021Next year’s event is scheduled for October 8-10. (FOX Carolina)

Special Olympics South Carolina announced the cancellation of this year’s fall games, originally scheduled for October at Coastal Carolina University. (WIS)

 The Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Faire announced this year’s festival would be cancelled + would not be rescheduled. With the close of this “final chapter,” the organization also stated their website will remain up until June 27, 2021. If you paid for tickets or a booth fee, upon request made on or before July 31, 2020,” the Faire will be issuing refunds to your Paypal account less any processing fees. 

With the annual 10,000 person Indie Craft Parade no longer a viable option, their plan is to combine the festival with their Holiday Pop Up Shop to create a new shop version of the Indie Craft Parade. This new shop will run from September through December, and a series of outdoor mini markets will happen later this year.

Artisphere 2020 has been cancelled. The festival was originally rescheduled from May to August because of COVID-19, but organizers have made the decision to cancel the festival out of concern for the health and safety of artists and patrons. (WYFF 4)

The Olympics have officially been rescheduled. The new dates for the Tokyo Olympics are July 23-August 8, 2021. (WYFF 4)

 

Travel

○ The Bahamas recently announced a travel ban on US tourists traveling to the Islands. The official ban goes into effect today. “Any Americans still on the islands will be allowed to leave…under special accommodations.” (New York Post)

○ Last week, the state of New York issued an emergency health order stating that any travelers from high COVID-19 states, including South Carolina, must provide their contact information + quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or receive a $2,000 fine. (WLTX)

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport has installed two new PPE vending machines in high traffic areas of Concourse A and B. Some items travelers can purchase from the kiosks are face maskshand sanitizergloves, and other travel + health products.

○ Recently, the Cruise Lines International Association announced that cruise lines have voluntarily extended the no-sail order from US ports through September 15. Additionally, Carnival Cruise Line has extended its pause in services through September 30. (WCIV)

Government leaders are urging anyone who has visited a beach in South Carolina to get tested for COVID-19. While positive cases continue to increase, the likelihood of being exposed to the virus especially in a densely populated area, such as the beach, also rises. (The State)

New York, New Jersey + Connecticut will require everyone traveling from states with significant community spread of coronavirus — including SC — to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. (The News & Observer)

 

Sports

○ Clemson University announced yesterday that no fans will be allowed to attend the school’s first football game of the season against Wake Forest on Sept. 12 based on guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. (WYFF 4) 

The Department of Commerce released rules for fans attending high school sporting events in South Carolina late last week. Read them here to stay up-to-date this fall. (WYFF 4)

Gamecock Football released plans to allow 20,000 fans in Williams-Brice for the 2020 football season. Other fall sports will also be allowed limited capacity seating at their games. (WLTX)

Clemson University announced that the school’s football team will face The Citadel on Sept. 19 for their only scheduled non-conference game. The Tigers will play the Bulldogs at home in Clemson. (ESPN)

○ The SEC announced that all fans and workers attending college football games will be required to wear face coverings. Stadium capacity decisions will be left to individual schools per state and local guidelines(ESPN)

Conference Carolinas has joined the many other leagues nationwide that are postponing fall sports to the spring. More information on which sports are being affected here(The State)

The Southern Conference announced yesterday that they are postponing all fall sports league competition because of COVID-19 concerns. You can read the official announcement here.

 The Big South Conference has decided to delay the fall sports season with hopes to play in the spring. Delayed sports include football, men’s + women’s cross countrysoccer, and volleyball(WYFF 4)

○ An 18-year-old from Greenville is receiving national attention after completing what he and friends call the #maskedmile challenge. The purpose of the challenge, created by Madhav Bhat, is to help encourage others in the community that masks can be safely + easily worn for a variety of activities(TODAY)

Augusta National Golf Club will not welcome any fans for the 2020 Mastersrescheduled for Nov. 9-15. This year’s ticket holders are guaranteed the same tickets for the 2021 tournament(The State)

The SEC announced that the 2020 football season will consist of 10 conference-only games for each team – meaning, Clemson won’t play UofSC for the first time in over 100 years. The season has also been postponed until Sept. 26. (The State)

○ The ACC announced new guidelines for fall sports. Teams will be able to start their seasons the week of September 7. Conference schools will play 11 football games – 10 against ACC opponents + one non-conference game. The non-conference game must be played in the ACC school’s home state and opponents must meet predetermined medical  requirements. Read more here. (WSPA)

Clemson University has released some of the results from a survey the school issued to IPTAY season ticket holders. Of those surveyed, 54% said they would prefer to have “fall football without fans”‘ over “spring football with fans.” You can see more results here. (WYFF 4)

The first game for Charlotte’s new MLS team has been delayed a year – from 2021 to 2022 – because of COVID-19. The club had already collected 8,000 ticket deposits, translating to 25,000 to 30,000 seats per game. (Forbes)

The Carolina Panthers announced they will be reducing attendance at home games this year, but they did not say what the stadium’s new capacity will be. Fans who purchased single-game tickets for this season will be refunded, as those tickets are no longer available due to the new capacity restrictions. (WYFF 4)

 

 

Biz + Employment

Some of you have been asking for some outdoor dining options in and around Greenville, so here’s an awesome list of some great restaurants with outdoor seating in Greenville + Spartanburg from our friends at Kidding Around Greenville

SC Department of Employment and Workforce will begin highlighting top ‘life boat’ jobs in the state each week. A ‘life boat’ job is a position that an individual, with specific experience, can quickly transition into to achieve financial stability. (WLTX)

While we may be in the middle of a global pandemic, South Carolina has finished the fiscal year with a budget surplus of $775 million, leaving over 40% of the projected 2020-2021 budget surplus of $1.8 billion. (Post and Courier)

South Carolina ranks #8 of states whose COVID-19-related unemployment claims are recovering the quickestAccording to a recent report, There are currently 17.8 million Americans unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in total. (WalletHub)

Two Greenville-based companiesCPT Medical + Hoowaki LLC – are working together to help combat the national shortage of coronavirus testing kits. The kits will be made here in Greenville and will be used by healthcare providers and labs nationwide. “Each specimen collection kit packaged by CPT Medical includes their VTM and the Hoowaki NP Collection Swab.”

Distilleries in South Carolina are seeking relief from the coronavirus pandemic. Scott Blackwell, co-owner of High Wire Distilling Co. + president of South Carolina Craft Distillers Guild, joined with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States to send a letter to the US Congress seeking assistance – including providing federal excise tax relief, suspending tariffs on distilled spirits, supporting the Restaurants Act, and expanding the Paycheck Protection Program + Economic Injury Disaster Loan. (WCSC)

Greenville’s Upcountry History Museum is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities CARES grant. These grants help aid museums in continuing their projects that were affected by COVID-19.

○ A local translation service, Ivannovation, LLC, has created informational COVID-19 posters in multiple languages including Burmese, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. If you are interested in downloading these posters for your business, click here.

 

Other Announcements

○ The South Carolina Bar + South Carolina Legal Services have partnered to create a hotline service available to state residents facing evictions or other housing-related legal issues because of COVID-19. The toll-free hotline can be reached at 1-833-958-2266. Callers are asked to leave a message with details about the help requested + contact information. (CRBR)

Last week, Governor McMaster announced Nephron Pharmaceuticals is working to expand operations in Lexington County. The company’s President + CEOLou Kennedy, said the first five million COVID-19 vaccines Nephron fills will go to South Carolina residents. (WIS)

The Columbia-based company ZVerse will be producing 100,000 face shields every day for schools nationwide + the service industry. The company says the shields are durable enough to survive the entire school year and can even be cleaned in the dishwasher(WIS)

As of now, the South Carolina State Fair will continue as scheduled, October 14-25, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Fair organizers say they are taking precautionary measures into consideration as they continue to make plans. (WCBD)

The Clemson Cooperative Extension Service’s Agribusiness Team has built a website designed to help those in our state’s agribusiness industry navigate COVID-19 challenges. Topics include Economic Impact Payment Information, cash flow issues related to COVID-19, and more. You can check out their new website here.

○ UofSC’s Social Media Insights Lab has been monitoring coronavirus-related conversations in SC. You can view their list of reports at the link here.

○ If you live in the Midlands or Upstate of South Carolina + someone in your household has a disability, you may qualify for a free COVID-19 Sanitation Kit from Able SC. Some items in the kit include face masks, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and more. To get more information and sign-up, click here or call (803) 779-5121

The SC House has approved a plan to allocate the CARES Act federal funding the state received. The plan includes expanding broadband access across the state, COVID-19 testing, and rebuilding the unemployment trust fund. Roughly $600 million in funding will be saved for future COVID-19 response through the end of this year. The bill will need to be signed by the governor to go into effect. (WIS)

 The economic repercussions of COVID-19 may cause a number of child care centers to close permanently. The Institute for Child Success surveyed 100 child care centers across SC in April. A third of them said they would not be able to survive a shutdown. According to this child care desert map, families in lower-income + rural areas in Greenville County have fewer child care options than those areas with higher median incomes in the city. Shutdowns because of the coronavirus could further increase this gap. (Greenville News)

ARCpoint Labs, the diagnostic testing lab franchise, has partnered with Ethos Laboratories to create a new test that measures protective immunity to COVID-19, called Tru-Immune. Tru-Immune can detect the presence + magnitude of neutralizing antibodies against the virus that may prevent future infection. Tru-Immune hasn’t been approved by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization, but Ethos Laboratories has submitted data + statements to the FDA to be reviewed. It is currently being offered at select locations, including the Greenville ARCpoint Labs location.

○ Governor Henry McMaster announced a new initiative for the state’s restaurants called Palmetto Priority. Participating restaurants will be required to complete online training on + adhere to strict health and safety protocols. These restaurants will be provided with a decal with a Quick Response (QR) code customers can use to report any health and safety concerns or get more information. (FOX Carolina)

SCDHEC has created a coloring + activity book titled “Why Can’t I” to help younger children better understand COVID-19. Click here to download the book in either English or Spanish.

○ The Greenville Chamber of Commerce is partnering with US&S to provide 100 small businesses in our area with 100 masks. Of the 10,000 masks being provided, 5,000 will go to minority and women-owned businesses. Businesses must have taken the Greater Greenville Pledge + have 10 employees or less to qualify. Click here for more information or to sign up for masks. 

○ Chapman Cultural Center + the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce have partnered to create a public art campaign for the county that encourages the use of face masks. How can you participate? By putting temporary face masks on eligible pieces of public art. You can find out which art pieces here.

The state of South Carolina is projected to lose a total of $278.4 million in state and local tax revenue as a result of low hotel and occupancy rates because of the pandemic. SC stands at 17th in the country for most revenue lost. (WCIV)

Venture Carolina is allowing all entrepreneurs in South Carolina to download its mental health app Sharpen Founder for free right now.  Venture Carolina’s Executive Director, Charlie Banks, notes that, “Even in the best of times, being a founder is incredibly hard work. In today’s trying times, entrepreneurs need every support they can get…” To download the Sharpen Founder app, click here.

Catholic Charities of SC has launched Sister Hope, a free chat service for those dealing with stress and anxiety. The service is private and confidential + provides custom mental health help. Check out their Facebook page or text “hi” to (315) 276-3157 for immediate support.

The President signed a new $500 billion infusion of relief spending, to help support small businesses, banks + hospitals across the country. The bill passed Congress almost unanimously and allocates an additional $250 billion to replenish PPP loans, as well as $60 billion for additional small business disaster funds. (WRAL)

The CDC issued new guidance to help reduce the spread of coronavirus between people with pets. Recommendations include the following: do not let your pets interact with people not in your household, keep cats indoors if possible, and avoid dog parks. While domestic pets are not known to transmit coronavirus, there is a possibility that the virus can survive on animals’ fur for up to a few hours.

Farm Bureau Insurance announced that they are donating 200,000 meals to Harvest Hope Food Bank. Harvest Hope is currently reaching new highs, having served 50,000 individuals since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Farm Bureau has made a $2.3 million commitment to local food banks across the six states they operate in. To make a donation, click here.

○ Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris, is donating one million face masks to healthcare workers across the country, and 6,000 of those masks are being donated to Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital. (FOX Carolina)

The United Way of Greenville County is updating local volunteer opportunities daily on the Hands on Greenville website. Many of the opportunities are virtual and require no personal interaction. You can also donate to the United Way’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund here. 

Per the S.C. LLR, the deadline for renewing any licenses, registrations and/or permits set to expire between April and August has been extended to September 30. This decision involves the following boards: Barbers, Cosmetology, Contractors, Dentistry, Engineers and Surveyors, Environmental Certification, Funeral, Long Term Health Care, LP Gas, Manufactured Housing, Massage Therapy, Nursing, Pharmacy, Real Estate Appraisers, Real Estate Commission and Residential Builders. (Fox Carolina)

○ $53 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits have been paid out to ~64,000 South Carolinians by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. In the past four weeks, 266,000 unemployment claims have been processed in S.C. (The State)

Ridge Media + UNC Dental Student, Julie Driscoll, have put together a GoFundMe to support both local restaurants and healthcare workers. All donations made through the GoFundMe will go directly towards food orders from local spots to provide to hospitals treating COVID-19 cases. You can donate through the link here.

 

Schedule Changes

College and professional sporting events (CBS Sports)

South Carolina colleges and universities (WCSC)

Local events (WYFF 4)

Greenville County School District 

City of Greenville

Community Resources

United Way 211 (United Way)

Bilingual coronavirus related resources (Hispanic Alliance) 

COVID-19 Employer Resource Guide(Greenville Chamber)

COVID-19 Information for the Business Community (South Carolina Chamber) 

“Connecting our Community” resource page(City of Greenville)

COVID-19 Community Resources (LiveWell Greenville) 

COVID-19 Upstate SC Links to Information and Resources (Ten at the Top)

○ Kill Covid, Not Small Biz is a website that lists the ways local businesses are making their services + goods available during this time by modifying business operations.

Upstate Businesses Offering Take-Out & Special Services (iOnGreenville)

Takeout & Delivery Directory (Greenville On The Rise)  

Retail and restaurant closings, hours of operation updates in Greenville (Greenville Journal)

Greenville Food & Beverage (Visit Greenville SC) 

Information regarding free breakfasts + lunches for Greenville County students

COVID-19: Where to find food assistance (Kidding Around Greenville) 

Greenville Area Parks and Outdoors Updates (Visit Greenville SC)

United Way of Greenville County’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund

U-Haul is offering 30 days of free self-storage to college students who have been impacted by schedule changes. Find the location nearest you here.

○ Area grocery stores, including Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, Lowes Foods, Publix + Walmart are limiting operating hours to close earlier until further notice. Be sure to call your nearest store if you have questions about their hours or inventory + you can find more info here. (WCSC)

The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest disaster loans for eligible small businesses to help mitigate losses due to the pandemic.

Health Care Resources

Anyone in South Carolina who has COVID-19-like symptoms can use MUSC Health’s Virtual Care system for free by using the promo code COVID19.

CDC Resources

World Health Organization Resources

Because many hospitals want to avoid having immunocompromised individuals near areas with higher COVID-19 exposure, Palmetto Infusion, an ambulatory infusion clinic, is receiving more referrals to help those living with acute + chronic illness by providing infusion treatments. Their Greenville center is located at 141 Halton Village Circle.

Bon Secours Health System is joining the FDA’s national Expanded Access Program to begin using convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is plasma that has been collected from those who have recovered from COVID-19. This is not the first time this method is being used – it has been used for Ebola, measles, polio + more. Those who have recovered and are symptom free after 28 days can donate their blood via The Blood Connection. Click here for more info. (Greenville Journal)

Community Conversations

Ways to support the local community

Restaurants offering curbside takeout + delivery

Local yoga studios offering virtual classes

○ Senior grocery shopping resources

How can GVLtoday best serve our community right now?

5 ways to support Greenville during the coronavirus

Quarantine date night

COVID-19 comfort poll