McMaster announces ‘Palmetto Priority’ initiative aimed at restaurant safety amid COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Jun. 23, 2020 at 5:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced a new initiative aimed at keeping restaurant staff and customers safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Palmetto Priority initiative encourages restaurants to follow federal and state health regulations, such as staff wearing masks and tables and menus sanitized after each customer visit.

It is an initiative brought together by the S.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, and S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism department.

“Palmetto Priority is a formal commitment made by South Carolina restauranteurs to provide a clean and safe environment for their staff and customers to demonstrate real precautions that they are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” according to the initiative’s website.

Restaurants who follow the guidelines and are found to be in compliance will be given a decal to put into their windows, McMaster said.

Some of those priorities, according to the website, are:

  • Complete either a DHEC Virtual Food Safety Check or, after July, a Limited Scope Food Safety Inspection
  • Managers must complete the ServSafe Reopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions
  • Adhere to the minimum standards as outlined by the SCRLA Restaurant Reopening Guidance

According to the governor, customers can report restaurants that are not in compliance by going to the Palmetto Priority website.

Restaurants will lose that seal if they’re found to not be in compliance four times, McMaster said.

The governor stressed that if customers see that a restaurant doesn’t have a Palmetto Priority seal, “go somewhere else.”

“This will be a program and effort that will produce the desired result, and it will work,” McMaster said.

For more information on the Palmetto Priority initiative, click here.

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