Many Grand Strand restaurants in favor of McMaster’s new safety initiative to prevent virus spread

Local restaurants share thoughts on Governor’s new safety initiative

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Earlier this week, Gov. Henry McMaster rolled out the “Palmetto Priority” initiative, which provides specific guidelines for the food industry to practice during the pandemic.

The new initiative encourages restaurants to follow federal and state health regulations, such as requiring all employees to wear masks, practicing social distancing and sanitizing products after each customer visit.

After a restaurant completes the Palmetto Priority initiative guidelines and are found to be in compliance, they’ll receive a sticker that customers will see on the storefront windows. This way, restaurants can make it clear to customers that health and safety are their top priorities.

According to McMaster, if a customer sees that sticker, it means they’ve gotten his safety “stamp of approval.”

Numerous restaurants say they’re in favor of the governor’s new initiative because it’s not much different from what the businesses were already doing prior to the Palmetto Priority being unveiled.

Staff at the Donald’s Pancake House in Myrtle Beach say they’re actively working on getting that Palmetto Priority decal because they know it will be important for customers.

“Living with people that are a little bit older then me, I have to be really cautious wherever I’m going, even when I’m not at my restaurant,” said Donald Asllanha, manager of Donald’s Pancake House. “I’m going out to other restaurants and other establishments, it’s something I keep an eye on [too.] We want our customers, even if they don’t want to come in, to see that sticker and know we’re in compliance.”

Asllanha says his business was already following many of the safety measures outlined in the new initiative, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Staff at Gulfstream Cafe in Garden City say they’re also on board with the governor’s initiative.

“It’s nothing new,”said Jef Kirk, operating partner for Gulfstream Cafe. “In addition to what the governor [advises], we’ve gone a little further, adding reservations, not letting guests into our waiting area, [instead] having them sit in their cars and text them when their tables are ready.”

The manager of Peaches Corner near the Boardwalk says their restaurant is also interested in getting the Palmetto sticker, but they’re continuing to weigh the pros and cons of it all.

“I think that [sticker] will show people what restaurants are doing, but we’ve been [following the guidelines] before this initiative,” said Robert Alston, manager for The Peaches Corner. “[However], since we’re wearing masks all the time, I think people coming from out of town, they should have [to put] masks on too.”

The Palmetto Priority initiative is not a requirement for restaurants.

McMaster advises that if diners walk into a restaurant and don’t see the Palmetto sticker, they have the “power of choice” to dine elsewhere.

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