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Hospitality and Tourism

New program lets restaurants indicate compliance with COVID-19 guidelines

Hospitality and Tourism
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Restaurant owners that join Palmetto Priority will be sent window decals to show their commitment to the pledge's protocols. (Photo/Provided)As the number of daily new COVID-19 cases across the state reached 1,157 on Saturday, Gov. Henry McMaster unveiled an initiative on Tuesday — modeled off the Greater Greenville Pledge — to encourage social distancing and safety measures among state restaurants.

Restaurant owners that sign on to the measure, called Palmetto Priority, are expected to complete a list of protocols intended to quell the spread of COVID-19, complete a free online course and undergo an inspection by the Department of Health and Environmental Control. Those that pass the requirements will be listed on the Palmetto Priority page and receive a window decal.

The S.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, DHEC and the governor’s office spearheaded the effort.

John Durst, CEO and president of the restaurant and lodging association, said, “As we continue to work together, we look forward to strengthening the results of our unified push for a clean, safe dining experience for both our restaurants and patrons all across our great state.”

Durst’s association will vet applicants and follow up with restaurants that do not appear to be compliant with the pledge’s commitments. Those restaurants will be indicated by public feedback on the Palmetto Priority website.

Restaurants that refuse to comply after four warnings will have their seal revoked, according to McMaster.

Along with completing a ServSafe educational course, restaurants will commit to the following measures to receive the decal:

  • Post required signage advising customers not to enter if symptomatic
  • Post signage to promote social distancing and walking traffic patters
  • Will select one person per shift to head-up safety and sanitation checks during the shift who will ensure that handwashing is carried out, as well as restaurant sanitation in dining rooms, restrooms, lobbies and doors at least every hour
  • Post signs reminding customers and staff of expected hand hygiene
  • Carry out restaurant plans to clean and disinfect common areas and surfaces
  • Perform healthy safety checks for all employees before shift
  • Require employees to wear face-coverings
  • Install hand sanitizing stations for customers and employees at restaurant doors
  • Seat all diners within six feet of other tables unless the seating areas are already partitioned
  • Provide condiments, silverware, flatware, glassware and other tabletop items by request and remove these items when the table is unoccupied
  • Disinfect tables between parties

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