Gov. Henry McMaster was at Cafe Strudel in West Columbia Thursday to sign the South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act.
The bill extends legal immunity to state agencies, healthcare facilities and businesses that followed public health guidelines against COVID-related claims filed against them.
Before the bill was signed Café Strudel owner Trip Turbyfill said in his 25 years as small business owner COVID had more of an impact than anything. He also said if a small business had to face liability in addition to the challenges of COVID, it could be a “death blow.”
“We lost 90 percent of our revenue (because of COVID) literally overnight,” said Turbyfill, “and we had to transition from dine-in to pick up and delivery, we acquired a food truck, all to stay in business and keep the doors open. He said by finding creative ways to serve his customers, Cafe Strudel was able to “survive and rebound.”
State House Speaker Jay Lucas was at the bill signing. He credited West Columbia Rep. Micah Caskey, also in attendance, with moving the bill forward.
McMaster said as the state puts COVID in the past and the economy is ready to take “another great step forward.”
McMaster also said South Carolina never closed during the pandemic and took a different approach using common sense. “And as a result,” McMaster said, “while a lot of other states are struggling to get out of the holes they’re in, we’re ready to blast off.”