This Week in South Carolina: COVID-19 Update: Tourism and Small Business Impacts
Welcome. To this week in South Carolina I'm Gavin Jackson, this, week governor Henry McMaster has reissued. His work or home mandate, for another 15, days and his, task force accelerate, SC has met to look at reopening, the state's economy we. Look at how the tourism ministry is doing as well as how the small business community is faring now, the latest from this week, the. Call for the reopening of closed businesses, in South Carolina, was on display last Friday as protesters. Took to the streets around the Statehouse. But. Even when businesses, are given the green light that, doesn't mean everything will go back to normal there, will be change. We. Both knew that we're looking at a new normal we don't know exactly what, it is and that's what this group has got to help us figure out Commerce, Secretary Bobby hit is part of some 30 business, and political leaders on the governor's accelerate, SC task force one of those members was North Myrtle Beach mayor Marilyn hat Lee Horry. County routinely. Counts. For approximately, 15 percent of the state's total tack net. Taxable, sales so. As you can see the, loss of, business, in Horry County will. Have a major negative, impact. Financially. Not only on our, cities, that, on this day, the. City of Myrtle Beach reopened, it's eight miles of beach this week and city council approved a phased approach to, reap in hotels starting, Friday they'll, bring them up to full capacity this, summer the county banner hotels and short-term, rentals also expired, on Thursday. And was not renewed, however, after three weeks of declining death rates from its peak in early april south carolina saw an increase this week Tuesday. Marks the biggest one-day increase, ever with 15 deaths reported which. Was nearly the total of the week before, DHEC. Also found that 29 previous deaths have been associated, with the virus putting, a statewide death count as of late Wednesday at 232. On a positive, note the agency, said that as of April 27th. 76%. Of those South Carolinians, infected, with Cova denied have, recovered. Still. Health care workers remain on the front lines of the fight and as a thank you f-16s. From the South Kona Air National Guard flew of her medical facilities, across the state on Monday in North, Charleston the, aerospace, giant Boeing said, it's set to reopen its 787. Dreamliner plant next week following. A brutal first quarter loss of 641. Million dollars demand. And other economic, headwinds are forcing, the company to cut its workforce of a hundred sixty thousand, by 10 percent in places, like North Charleston home to some 7,000, workers the, cuts will be even greater according, to president and CEO Dave Calhoun. We. Now plan to reduce the 787. Production, rate to ten per. Month in 2020. And then, gradually, reduced to seven per month by. 2022. We. Will continue to evaluate the, rate beyond, 2022. To balance, supply and demands but. The sharp reduction, in demand for our airplanes. That we see out over the next several years won't. Support the size of the workforce we have today. Now. Joining me is Dwayne parish she's the director of south cannot parks recreation, and tourism Dwayne. Thanks for joining us sure. Glad to be here so, can. You kind of give us a broad overview of how the year started out what 2020, was expected, to be and then kind of what the past several weeks have have, made the year into at this point sure. What 2019, started was a record year our seventh consecutive. 2020. January, started out and even halfway through February, was extremely, strong we're up depending, upon the management anywhere from two to eight percent over the prior year we. Thought 2020, would be another record year obviously. That all changed, as, the, late February, then, into March and then bottomed out really, in our last couple of weeks the, first two weeks of April I mean.
Tourism Overall down about anywhere, from 80 to 85 percent hotel. Occupancy is down to 20 to 25 percent at a time of you don't normally be 80 to 85 percent so you can you. See what we. Hear. And, what indicators, you look at you're talking about hotel occupancy you're, talking about just I mean we've seen events canceled, just. And getting. Early revenue estimates too as well I would assume maybe that's. Right yeah revenue. Estimates are down anywhere from 80 to 85 percent in terms of overall tourism, spending that includes categories like hotels restaurants. Shopping attractions. Golf all those things where people's visitors, spend money you know, an appeal of that accommodation, tax sales tax hospitality. Tax fuel tax all those things are all down towards, McPherson, contributes, 1.8 billion dollars in state and local taxes, for South Carolina so you can do the math and see how, much that's going to be, so. Free that's, right Dwayne so looking forward now I mean you're on that accelerate, SC task force you're, looking at what needs to be done because obviously we've we've seen the damage done right now and I'm. Guessing maybe a bottoms coming soon maybe not I don't know I mean you guys are still kind of working through things we're getting into this the spring late spring early summer season, now what's. One of the steps for what are you guys looking at right now in terms of getting things reopened, in the state sure. Well it's sort of a core well-run process, this. Didn't happen overnight you know we, fix. Itself overnight but, short. Version, is hotels. Were never for, the most part we're never closed a local oldest immortal beach from the statewide hotels, are not required to close there was some stipulations about where people could come from but they never were, required to close restaurants. On the other hand were required to close their dining room so one. Of the things we put forward yesterday in the accelerate s the sub. Meeting, was a restaurant. Plan to reopen reopening. Outdoor. Dining on May 4th and the reopening the indoor dining room albeit, new somewhere. Between May 11th and may 80 those. Those, were the suggested, dates from the South Carolina restaurant lodging association to, the governor to sort of get that a lot, of the other meeting was talking about barbershops. And hair stylist and so on I think, everybody wants to go out and get a haircut some. Of it is but but, you know it's sort of that crawl walk run process, we, have to build faith back in the consumer, much. Like TSA, did after 9/11, make. People feel safe to come out again go, to restaurants, go to shopping malls go, to hotels, all. Those kinds of things but one, of the things we're doing Gavin, is we're targeting the drive market, I'm not sure people are going to come out first and fly plane, right away we. Restate that 80% of people drive into anyway that's, probably going to be 95 percent going, forward for the next few months so, we'll go into those markets, that are within a 350, mile radius around Columbia, to draw people into the state the good news is we are a drive state and what, position for that and the cabin fever is very high right now we know people want to get out our state parks all open up to open. Up body may 1st and so, that gives us an opportunity to sort of get people out for that first sort of run into. Getting. Out and out and about from their house mm-hmm, yeah we did see you know Myrtle Beach moving for three opening their beaches already, County doing that too and again like you mentioned about the hotels you know specific, to that area are also come back online in the short-term rentals it, sounds like they're doing a phased in approach when it comes to occupancy, for the hotels, I'm wondering, is that something that you guys are recommending, as well or is that just like they they've, come up with on their own I know at the local level they did essentially you guys would advocate maybe statewide or what what's it look like when we talk about you, know ho talk you can see it attracting, people by sure we.
Haven't Advocated, any specific, parameters, regarding, occupancy statewide but, we know that the market is very soft it'll open up very soft, despite. The cabin fever a lot of people when we watch it to trial from day one so I think I can see by market forces will be low but, that's okay it gives the, more more people traveling the more they talk about it to neighbors and friends and on social media I think the more people will pitcher out and do things like go to a restaurant go, to a mall go. Up take, a trip somewhere for. The weekend I think this trip too short term to begin with two. Or three days a weekend, to, go somewhere they'll get in the car and go but. We think that that builds, up confidence to take, longer trips and eventually, a year from now sometime. Later this year the international, travel as well and. I guess another thing to when we look at places you. Know like Myrtle, Beach a lot of things that make that place Myrtle Beach or the, attractions, or the amusements which are still shut down because of the governor's executive order, so. It's really a matter what those get reopened up again so it's it sounds like everything to be kind of in phases it sounds like you're talking about dining, restaurants, and, you did talk about you, know getting at the consumer confidence back you know what are the some of the ways that we're gonna see that happen to, make sure that people when they do come back that it's not you, know herky-jerky, return, and a spike or something like that but to make sure it's sure it's consistent, yeah, I'll speak specifically, to rush box you'll, see paper menus or chalkboard, menus or, do people pull up on their phone you'll, see table space further apart you'll, see tables limited to six people, you'll, see employees, wearing masks you'll, know that employees, the temperature has been taken that day when they came to work a lot, of those things along the way you'll see signage that you haven't seen before in restaurants, it'll, be like that in our state parks and we open up as well, all those things are sort of in place on a make, sure people do the things they're supposed to do regardless social distancing, but also giving that confident confidence, that we've collected this and we've had DHEC along the road with us to, give us those plans that will not, only work but give people that confidence come back into retail come, back in the hotels and travel again is.
There Any worry about compliance I mean I know we're talking about you know these, social distancing measures you. Know there have been some places some cases of issues you, know or, are you worried about when these beaches really kind of get to full throttle what people are really out you, know after you know Memorial, Day what things really kind of are you traditionally, kick up that maybe, there could be you, know compliance, issues or is that just something that's gonna really need to be managed on a locality. By locality basis, too maintain, it. Will be I think we're their large crowd you mentioned the beach certainly. There's a possibility for people not to practice social distancing, you, know I think local law enforcement in. The case of State Park, Rangers, authorities. Will be you know looking out for those kinds of things to try to remind, people to do that you, know it's it's not something that you know everybody. Wants to do but it will take a while for people to get used to this it is a new normal so, given. That I think people will be pretty understanding, but you know it's the, handshake has gone away for the time being so that's, something particularly the South we're used to doing so I think that changes. The norm somewhat, but over time will people. Into. A we are we are kind of seeing a new normal return as well when we look at these bigger sporting, events we've heard news about how. NASCAR, will be restarting back up here in, South Carolina and Darlington Darlington, Raceway holding, two races, in, May. I'm just wearing it but without spectators, so it's you know gonna be a very interesting situation because you're used to seeing that Labor Day race up in Darlington with, a 53 million dollar impact from that weekend, I'm, wondering, about you know some of these events and maybe the RBC Heritage what are we seeing right now maybe trickling back in and in terms, of the future and and you, know just these big sporting events that we're used to having here, sure. Yeah. Spectators. For a while and that includes Darlington, that includes the RBC Heritage which is in June Darlington mid May I think you'll see a lot of that throughout the summer. Made-for-television. Bits the good news is it showcases, South Carolina at a time keeps, our state sort of top of mind that we are a sports capital in many respects, for many things these. Are great events and showcase Darlington, showcase Helton head to the rest of the country socially. When people travel they'll have that in the top of mind to be able to pick those spots hopefully, mm-hmm, and just for a few minutes left when we look at how this ranks, you know this this dis downturn, right now just the past few weeks causing. Such you, know havoc, on our economy and of course worldwide I'm wondering how does this rank when we look at the Great Recession in, South Carolina tourism, was that something I mean was that obviously, a little more spread out and it took a long time to get back versus, this kind of sudden jolt I mean we're gonna have the same same.
Fallout You would say maybe from the Great Recession or how is this different, well. I think this is worse when. I went back, recession. So to speak. Were down anywhere from 20 to 25%. Thinking. Of hotels been a hotel often see for example today. You know hotel I can see down 70 to 80 percent this is a much dramatic, more dramatic impact I think, timing may the recovery will be up slightly faster than it was although. We come from the Great Recession by like 2012, we were sort of out of it that. Took three to four years I think this is probably one to two years but, a greater a greater dip, in this so-called graph, of economic. Cycle of what's happened this time you. Know I think too that some businesses won't come back some restaurants, won't come back some look tells me come back is something different, there. Will be some new normal for different things attractions, as well but. Working, around those to. Reopen in a certain time frame and to reopen safely, and to make people feel confident, a kin to those from attractions hotels, and restaurants and, golf courses and, what's the overall look for the season for the outlook for this year's it just could be you know you talking about twenty four billion dollars in spending from tourism that, it generates in a year what. Do we look like for. 2020, as far as you can tell at this point. Forty. Five to fifty percent of the year obviously. Jane we felt we were up, March. April May dramatically. Down and then, sort of a lovely novel open as we go through the year but somewhere, in the 45 to 50 percent range as well be down for the year gotcha. Alright, Dwayne parish director, of South Korea and Recreation, and tourism thanks for joining us thank. You yeah joining. Me to discuss the state of small businesses, in South Carolina it's Frank Knapp he's, a Chamber he's a small business chamber, president and CEO Frank. Thanks for joining us thank. You for the opportunity, be on Frank. It's been a few weeks since we last spoke a lot has changed, some. Businesses were forced to close some, have since reopened they've been allowed to reopen some, have closed permanently I want to know what what are you hearing what are you seeing on the ground and what the landscape looks like in South Carolina for small businesses, well. There. Are certainly, a lot of small businesses that are closing, there were reports, all across. The state regarding. Especially, restaurants, that. Are shutting down for good, not just temporarily. Because. Simply can't they, can't be. Without fighting, the, money. That comes in every day ups and pay the rent and pay, for their surprise place. For employment and. So, we, have restaurants, going out of business, examples. That across the state and other. Businesses all personal, service businesses. In South Carolina these, people have no money, and. Then, you know you have plenty. Of other stores that are. Closed, so. It's, not a good situation. We. Will unfortunately, going to be losing a lot of small businesses, when, this is all over Frank. Well a lot of that I'm wondering do you think that as a result of because, of the you, know the way that the the paycheck, protection, program was rolled out in the first phase I know there's been more money that came online this week you. Know South Carolina Department Commerce, said that $23,000. Load of loans were 23,000. Loans were approved representing, 3.8 billion dollars in that first round obviously. I'm wondering what that demand was like before it sounds like we heard plenty of stories from people after that money ran, out that they were left on the hook and a lot of big businesses a lot of big small businesses, were getting. Money that maybe they didn't need what was it like here in South Carolina well. I think it's what, happened here it was the same thing that happened across this country that the. Whole. Process it. Was not first come first served as was, promoted by the SBA, and Department Treasury it. Was really built for the. That. To harm. This one doesn't bill to harm others but they certainly weren't benefited, as they should have been. So. Things. Are difficult the PPP, loans ran out after before 14, days was up a lot.
Of That money went to larger, businesses larger. Larger. Smaller. Businesses, anything under 500 we have examples, of publicly, traded companies, getting massive. Massive loans being, errors and their company is getting masses, amount of loans we. Know that the financial institutions were taking care of their of their best customers first which were asking, for more money so. In the end small, businesses, in South Carolina. Well, less. Than 6% of all small businesses in South Carolina that's over 400,000. Got, any of that first-round, money now it's we're going on right now with the second round as. A just. Yesterday. Ninety. Billion, dollars had, already been allocated nationwide, out of 310, and. So, we'll, see how this plays out whether it's a more equitable distribution of. This. PPP, money. Or not that the problem is we're still going to have millions across this country that, aren't going to be able to get a this funding. And certain, tens, of thousands in South Carolina that aren't going to get any of this funding, so it we're still at a crisis, and we will have to revisit this again Congress. Wants to come back again and look at how. To get more money we've been advocating, that these should have been grants the whole time it should, be anybody, should have come in who needed. The money should, have been given a grant no questions asked, if you had done what they wanted with the money, but. Unfortunately, they they chose this route of using private lenders and making them loans. Because. You expect this to run out again and again people will still not have gotten the money that they need even though that this is the second round of applications, for, it well, the, money this. Time I don't, expect this going to go much more than another. Week I think, I doubt if it goes to, the end of next week, money. Will go a bit further maybe. At the end of the process we'll have somewhere. Around, 10. To 15 percent of our small businesses this country have gotten, some type of funding, and maybe the same number here in South Carolina that still leaves a lot, of small businesses across this country and in South Carolina they have not received any financial. Help, and, they. Are striving, every day to survive, and. They. Just, won't be able to do that and there's a, lot of the money going towards, restaurants, are these really tight margin. Businesses. Or because, I feel like some people might say well you, know your business you should be planning for things obviously this is so just you know unprecedented. For a lot of people but you know how what, kind of businesses really need this money which ones are not getting, it so. It, was set up supposedly. That a small, business. That had other access, to money either. A line of credit with a financial. Institution or they could go to the stock market or they could do something to, get money weren't, supposed to be in line to get this PPP, funding but. They, were and, we, have example. After example after example of. Businesses. That probably. Should not have been in line and getting millions, of dollars that. Money is taken out of the hands, of the restaurants. Across the independent, restaurants, in this state or just, suffering, dramatically, and only a very small number. Of them actually, were able to get the, funding in the first round we'll see if it's any better this time but. Again, we we will have. Major. Problems when. Even, when this round of funding goes away we're still gonna have major. Major problems. Jobless. Numbers, came out we saw them topping 30 million this week. 400,000. Those are in South Carolina, but. We have seen two weeks of decreased claims but of course we're still talking about 400,000, South Carolinians out of work there's, also concerns, now Frank that you, know when these jobs come back when we started slowly reopen, the economy, which we'll talk about a moment that people won't be, wanting, to go back to work maybe they don't feel safe or maybe some people have you know said that they don't want to go back to their low wages perhaps, since they're making so much money now what's the situation there and how do have a small business owners remedy, this and in deal with it going forward as they do slowly begin to reopen.
So. We're not going to get to the economy, that we were before. This all started, you. Can open up a business. But. If the consumers, won't come in the door you. Haven't really achieved much. So. That's the big problem there are probably ways that small businesses can reopen. And, have, the proper safeguards, in, place to, protect the, workers. As well as the customers, but. If those customers, don't feel like coming in they still don't feel, right. Businesses. Are still gonna lose money, and being, in survival, mode and. As regarding, workers a, lot. Of workers are are, getting some good. Money. Stimulus, money to help them and that's good we want we want the workers of South Carolina to have money because they have bills, that they have to pay and, that helps keep the economy going. But. If you, know if they're offered a job back at the oil business and they turn it down then, we'll. See if the, employment. Unemployment, agency, here, in the state sort, of enforces, that that they cannot get any more. Whether. There'll. Be some tension, between employees, and employers because, maybe the workplace isn't, as safe as it needs to be again that's gonna go back to that confidence, issue what you're talking about knowing with consumers, but, with employees, and employers, and having the right amount of protective, equipment how, do we remedy, that how do we how do these employers how do consumers make sure that the, proper safeguards will be in place is that's something that the government needs to do or is that gonna be on case-by-case, business, by business basis. Small. Business owner that wants to open up will. Take the precautions, to safeguard. The public, and. They'll have to have a conversation with their employees, because. If they don't need to bring back all the employees maybe. There will be some that do want to come back and. Those, are the ones who will be rehired, so, it's gonna be on a case by case basis. But the government does have a responsibility of putting in place, the. The measures, that, all businesses. Ought to take so. That they can they, can keep. Their employees themselves. And their and their customers, safe. I mean those guidelines are important, because we should expect every. Small business owner to know everything there. Ought to be there ought to be information, provided, and guidance provided. To them everybody wants open up everybody. Would like to do that but, we, can't do it in. The way we have been doing it before we've got to be smarter, we've got to make sure that we can try to minimize the risk and. We certainly want to avoid that second, wave of. Viruses. Hitting, us in a fault Frank. We have about three, minutes left when, you look at what the governor's been doing for accelerates, SC, this task force of you know industry, leaders politicians, and the like do. You think this is the right phase an approach you think the governor is handling this correctly in terms of you know slowly looking at how things can recover you're saying we're not gonna get back to where we were before a lot of people have been saying that as well, what do you think it looks like and how do you think we do slowly, go into the future our new normal at this point well.
The, Governor is basically, working. With the, business community to get, their ideas and to get their input on exactly, how, things should open up with those guidelines we were talking about so. That is good I mean. Congratulations. To, him for, taking that step and, reaching out to the business community and asking them for their input and I think they're being methodical. They're being thoughtful. But. There are hurdles, you, know that have to be achieved before. Everything. Is opened, up and we have to watch those numbers we really have to watch how many people are still contracting, to Mars and, how many people in the hospital, how many people are passing away those. Numbers are going to tell us sort, of where we are but, even when those numbers start receding, we, know the virus is still out there and until. We get the. Vaccine, or the medicine, to. Treat it or have, all the testing that we need which, we don't have. We've. Been talking about you know the difficulties. Facing businesses, have you seen any silver linings have you seen some businesses maybe surviving. I know a lot of businesses have shifted gears they're producing, items. That they they weren't doing before but they they know there's demand for such as PPE, anything. Any potential, changes and people maybe even rediscovering or or, looking at new industries, to go into as a result of all this this change well. There. Are opportunities, and. Small business, owners, those entrepreneurs. They. They. Look for opportunities, to make money and. The. Successful, ones, figure, out where, they need to take their business or to start a new business so, we're, always. Optimistic. About entrepreneurship, and and. Addressing. A situation, so you. Know things, are not good at all, but. Down the road you. Will see entrepreneurship. Come. Back and maybe, take a different path for the type of businesses that they have it's. All remaining. To be seen I love. To keep looking forward to in the future hopefully things do improve there that's Frank Knapp with the South kind of small business Chamber of Commerce thank you Frank thank. You. To. Stay up to date on the latest Cova 19 news and how it affects South Carolina, check, out the South Carolina lead podcast, it's a podcast that we are releasing it multiple times a week to keep you up to speed on what's happening in the state you, can find it wherever you find podcasts or on South Carolina Public Radio org, from. South Carolina ETV studios, here in Columbia I'm Gavin Jackson, be, well South Carolina.