South Carolina’s governor is rolling out details of a program that his office says will allow the state’s economy to “recover more quickly than any other state’s in the country” from the new coronavirus outbreak.
Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday announced the details of “Accelerate South Carolina,” which includes several key leaders in the state including mayors, presidents of institutions of higher learning, business owners and health care professionals. The group is headed up by James Burns, an attorney and former Defense Department deputy legal counsel who also served as chief of staff to former Gov. Nikki Haley. Its first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, with plans to hold multiple sessions over the next 30 days.
McMaster has repeatedly stressed his desire for a swift, yet safe, reopening of the state’s economy, noting the severe toll the outbreak has had on individual workers and businesses. Establishments including restaurants, bars, manufacturers, dentist offices and a number of others have closed for a variety of reasons, including mandatory orders from McMaster issued in an effort to stem the outbreak.
From Governor webpage
Organized this day, April 20, 2020, accelerateSC serves as the coordinated COVID-19 advisory team to consider and recommend economic revitalization plans for South Carolina.
The economic revitalization plan consists of five components of analysis and effort: Response, Protection, Governance, Resources, and Information. These components will employ maximum communication, collaboration and cooperation among themselves and those assisting to effectively identify issues, solutions, and assets necessary for a phased revitalization path for South Carolina’s economy, guided by healthcare and medical data. The governor will designate a state agency to coordinate each of the revitalization components; other identified state agencies will assist. The accelerateSC participants will make immediate, intermediate and long-term recommendations to the governor for revitalizing and expanding South Carolina’s economy while protecting the health of South Carolina citizens.
RESPONSE: Identify challenges related to workforce capacity, workforce re-entry, critical industries, capital requirements, regulatory issues and supply chain/logistics.
Coordinating Agency: Department of Commerce (Commerce)
This component includes representatives from business, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, hospitality and service sectors, focusing on small, medium and large business interests. It will also include professional trade associations and medical service providers.
They will target such issues as workforce capacity, workforce re-entry, critical industries, capital requirements, regulatory issues and supply chain/logistics. They will advise the governor on immediate and future actions necessary to accelerate the state’s economy.
Assisting State Agencies: Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism, Department of Revenue, Department of Insurance, Department of Employment and Workforce, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Bureau of Economic Advisors, S.C. Ports Authority and Executive Budget Office.
PROTECTION: Identify protective protocols for practical implementation in workplace and public, testing and contact tracing, supply of personal protective equipment, and long-term mitigation efforts to ensure economic revitalization.
Coordinating Agency: Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
This component includes representatives from medical and healthcare providers, hospitals, health insurers, higher education, and professional associations.
They will identify protective strategies and protocols for practical statewide implementation to address issues associated with COVID-19 in the workplace and social settings, including appropriate supply of personal protective gear and medical equipment, surge capacity for medical treatment facilities, and steps to mitigate/avoid future outbreaks as the state accelerates economic revitalization.
These efforts should prioritize protecting the most vulnerable citizens, including senior adults, residents in rural communities, lower income communities, minority communities, persons with chronic disease and weakened immune systems. Additional efforts should include plans for statewide implementation of increased disease and immunity testing, as well as, contact tracing.
Assisting State Agencies: Department of Health and Health and Human Services, Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation, Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, Department of Social Services, Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, Department of Mental Health, Emergency Management Division, Commission for Minority Affairs, Human Affairs Commission, Department on Aging, Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and Francis Marion University.
GOVERNANCE: Identify challenges faced by state and local governments, educational institutions, emergency services and first responders to proceed with economic revitalization.
Coordinating Agency: S.C. Executive Office of the Governor
This component includes representatives from political subdivisions, education, county and city administrators, higher education, technical colleges, school board and administrators, law enforcement and first responders, and special purpose districts.
They will identify challenges to economic revitalization faced by state, county and local governments, school districts, higher education, technical colleges, court systems, first responders, emergency services personnel, and law enforcement.
Assisting State Agencies: Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation, State Law Enforcement Division, Department of Public Safety, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical College System.
RESOURCES: Identify process and appropriate metrics for disbursing federal funds and to ensure transparency of all disbursed funds in consultation with appropriate stakeholders.
Coordinating Agency: Department of Administration, Executive Budget Office (EBO)
This component includes representatives from business, industry, higher education and health care.
The EBO in the Department of Administration serves as the coordinating agency for federal and state COVID-19 relief appropriations and disbursements. The office is authorized to receive federal and state relief funding as directed by federal law, and to disburse funds as directed by the governor pursuant to law. The EBO shall participate with, and provide information to, the Response and Governance components for economic revitalization efforts.
They will identify strategies, opportunities and needs to be addressed most efficiently and impactfully through authorized relief funding.
Advisory Entities: Recommendation of three members of the House from the Speaker of the House and recommendation of three members of the Senate from the President of the Senate to consult with this component.
INFORMATION: Create consolidated information portal and associated dissemination methods related to citizens’ inquiries associated with COVID-19.
Coordinating Agency: Department of Administration (Administration)
The Department of Administration will create a one stop “ombudsman” style information portal for the public to utilize in obtaining information and assistance on COVID-19 related issues from state and federal agencies including the four components identified above. This will include providing resource information online and on social media platforms, as well as employing a trained, large-scale call center to provide live response to public inquiries via telephone.
Assisting State Agencies: All
STRUCTURE: accelerateSC shall be conducted and managed by James Burns, Esq. of Nelson Mullins. The governor and lieutenant governor shall participate at meetings. Formal activities are expected to continue for no longer than thirty days.
MEMBERSHIP: The accelerateSC team membership page.