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Spartanburg task force unveils benchmark goals and reopening campaign

Molly Hulsey //May 29, 2020//

Spartanburg task force unveils benchmark goals and reopening campaign

Molly Hulsey //May 29, 2020//

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Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s business recovery task force released benchmark goals and business reopening guidelines Thursday.

Kay Woodward, co-chair of Spartanburg's business recovery task force leads the unveiling of the task force's benchmark goals. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)The Bringing Back the Burg task force unveiled COVID-19 recovery resources in conjunction with a joint campaign with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System to encourage infection prevention in the workplace.

“The risk of COVID-19 is real, and it will continue to be with us for quite some time,” said Dr. Chris Lombardozzi, chief medical officer at Spartanburg Regional, during the press conference at Spartanburg's Marriott hotel.  He lauded everyone in the room for masking up and standing six feet apart.

 Businesses that make the “Combating COVID-19 Commitment” will receive a poster demonstrating adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control guidelines. These include team member screening, keeping sanitizer or sinks available, disinfecting between customers, maintaining social distance and capacity guidelines and donning masks in close quarters.

“A safe business will be a successful business,” Lombardozzi said.

The Open for Business Guidebook lists contact-limiting practices such as implementing a work from home policy, phasing in waves of returning employees, screening clients before office entry and declining business cards. Step-by-step sanitation and employee communication strategies are also detailed.

In step with Gov. Henry McMaster’s guidelines on infection mitigation, the guidebook prompts businesses to curtail occupancy to five people per 1,000 square feet, open as many doors as possible, restrict shared spaces and install barriers between employees working in close contact with the public or other employees.

“The emphasis is on safety: safely bringing back the ‘burg’ – educating, providing resources and providing the leadership to bring Spartanburg back,” said Kay Woodward, co-chair of Bringing Back the Burg and president of J.W. Woodward Funeral Home Inc.

David Britt, task force co-chair and vice president of Tindall Corp.’s S.C. division, remained encouraged by Spartanburg’s steady economic footing before the pandemic reached the county. He cited the county’s pre-COVID-19 leadership in state hotel growth, 2% unemployment levels and ranking as the fourth-highest location for economic investment and sustainability in the nation.

“Twenty four percent of every dollar invested in South Carolina over the past five years came from Spartanburg through most new and expansions in industry and business,” he said.

Spartanburg’s business fund, to be unveiled within a month, is expected to serve as a safety net for small enterprises pummeled by the pandemic, especially since one out of every four businesses lining the city’s downtown did not exist two years ago.

“As you can tell, we’re very bullish, we’re very excited about what is to come in Spartanburg,” said Allen Smith, CEO and president of the chamber and a member of the task force leadership cabinet.

The Bringing Back the Burg Business Recovery task force will use 19 data points to chart the county’s return to economic normalcy. Benchmark goals include:

  • An unemployment rate of less than or equal to 5% for six consecutive months
  • County hospitality taxes accounting for 80% of the 2019 total or $5.44 million
  • About 80% of last year’s 98,252 visitor count to Morgan Square
  • Building permits reaching 80% of 2019’s 10,224 total
  • Greenville Spartanburg Airport passenger traffic adding up to 80% of last year’s more than 2.61 million customers