COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The head of Myrtle Beach’s business community made a plea to lawmakers on Tuesday to include hospitality workers in Phase 1b.
Karen Riordan, the CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, was given a couple of minutes to speak to lawmakers during a House Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee.
The hearing was to discuss two bills that would move teachers and school staff to Phase 1a of the state’s vaccine distribution. But leaders in other industries across South Carolina were given the opportunity to discuss why their workers should be prioritized.
Riordan explained that as the current phases stand, the majority of the hospitality workforce in the state is those who fall under Phase 1c or Phase 2.
“If nothing changes this means our public-facing hospitality workers will not be vaccinated until mid-to-late summer or early fall,” Riordan explained.
She said that tourism in South Carolina is a $24 billion industry and one that the state heavily relies on.
“Our industry is also heavily taxed at the loc and state level which means that $24 billion supports critical projects all around our state, keeping your constituents happy,” Riordan said. “I humbly ask the committee to consider prioritizing hospitality workers and placing them in Phase 1b so our industry and state can rebound safely in 2021.”
Currently, Phase 1b has not been finalized. The Vaccine Advisory Committee is still in discussions about Phase 1b. It will send its final recommendations to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control leaders to finalize.