Coronavirus: The latest local updates, cancellations, resources, + more

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Coronavirus I Image via @6AMCity

Major Local Announcements

DHEC is encouraging all SC residents to respond to legitimate contact tracing calls + emails from public health officials, while remaining vigilant against scams. Legitimate contact tracing includes two components: case investigations and contact monitoring. If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer from DHEC will call you – and only ask you these questions.

○ DHEC launched a “Fight the Spread” campaign as rates of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 increase. The campaign reminds SC residents to wear masks, practice social distancing + get tested. (ABC Columbia)

Prisma Health will conduct all of it’s community testing at the same location the Department of Consumer Affairs building at 2221 Devine St. Testing will be held each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday + it will remain free and appointments won’t be required. (ABC Columbia)

○ Lexington Medical Center is now offering free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing each weekday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 139 Summerplace Dr., West Columbia. Appointments are required and can be made here.

○ City of Columbia voted to extend the face mask ordinance that was originally passed in June. The ordinance requires everyone in public + within six feet of anyone else to wear a mask. An expiration date hasn’t been set. (The State)

Gov. Henry McMaster announced that the guidelines previously recommended for restaurants + other establishments attracting groups of people are now mandatory. A list of the now mandatory guidelines can be found here.

○ Gov. McMaster also announced that face masks will be required within all state government buildings. (WIS)

Additionally, Gov. McMaster stated that other businesses, facilities, venues, events + mass gatherings are permitted to open with restrictions in place including requiring face masks, limiting capacity to 50% or 250 people, whichever is less, following social distancing + more.

○ Gov. Henry McMaster issued an order stating that all restaurants and bars in SC must stop the serving of alcoholic beverages after 11 p.m., which will last until further notice. This order does not apply to alcohol sold at convenience or grocery stores, wine and liquor stores, or retail businesses. (WIS)

The Richland County Recreation Commission opened public pools. The pools are free to use but guests will need to register for one-hour time slots here. The county is limiting pools to 50 guests an hour, will not provide life jackets or chairs and will require social distancing. Hours will be Wednesday-Friday from 2-5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 1-4 p.m. (WIS)

All 81 of South Carolina’s school districts have been approved to proceed with reopening plans, whether those plans are for in-person or online instruction. There are 17 districts that have opted to begin classes in one week, while 31 others have pushed back the first day to September 8 + other districts are somewhere in between. (Post and Courier)

In a letter to DHEC, Gov. Henry McMaster has asked the state health organization to create a system to collect positive COVID-19 testing results from each school district + report that data to the public daily. (WIS)

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced everyone (two-years-old and older) inside public schools will be required to wear face masks, including faculty and students. The Department of Education will provide five cloth masks to teachers, bus drivers, custodians + food service workers. (The State)

As part of increased safety measures, the SC Department of Education announced that in addition to mask requirements, school busses will be limited to 67% capacity in the fall. Electrostatic sprayers will also be used to clean busses twice a day. Parents are encouraged to drive their students to school if possible. (WIS)

○ Gov. Henry McMaster announced that South Carolina will purchase $10 million in PPE + distribute it to 70 school districts across the state. Equipment will include face masks, face shields, gloves, gowns for nurses, disinfecting wipes and more. (WLTX)

The South Carolina Department of Education received $15,049,608 in funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The money is for the “Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant,” which requires states to reevaluate current education models and is part of the CARES Act money. SC’s application focuses on improving communications between teachers, families, and the schools, increasing remote learning resources + more. (Metro Columbia CEO)

SC Schools have requested for the state to pay for 57,000 households to have access to broadband internet as the new school year nears. The project will cost $8 million of the $20 million currently budgeted for this program. (The State)

According to the SC Department of Social Services (DSS), 37% of child care centers across the state are still closed. DSS is now accepting applications for “Certificates of Temporary Operation” from organizations in school districts without fully in-person options to offer temporary child care services. (WIS)

○ Publix shoppers will be required to wear masks inside the grocery store. Delivery and pick-up options are encouraged to those who can’t wear a face covering. (WLTX)

○ Kroger announced that all customers will be required to wear a mask when shopping in stores. There are four locations in the Columbia area. (ABC Columbia)

Target + CVS Pharmacy to require all customers to wear a mask. (WIS)

○ Walmart + Sam’s Club require customers to wear masks. Walmart has over 4,700 company-owned U.S. stores, 12 of which are in the Columbia area. (WIS)

○ Bi-Lo requires its shoppers to wear face coverings inside of its stores. (WIS)

EBT cards can be used to purchase eligible food items online through Walmart and Amazon in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Carolina State Parks announced that masks are mandatory for all guests over the age of two in public spaces or where park employees are located, including all offices, visitor centers, restrooms + stores. (The State)

The state of New York issued an emergency health order stating that any travelers from high COVID-19 states, including South Carolina, must provide their contact information + quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or receive a $2,000 fine. (WLTX)

Governor McMaster announced Nephron Pharmaceuticals is working to expand operations in Lexington County. The company’s President + CEO, Lou Kennedy, said the first five million COVID-19 vaccines Nephron fills will go to South Carolina residents. (WIS)

701 Center for Contemporary Art reopened to guests on July 16 with hours on Wednesday-Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Visitors can see the ‘Into the Wood” exhibit until August 27 + face masks will be required.

○ EdVenture Children’s Museum reopened on July 14 with new safety precautions in place, including extra cleaning and social distancing. All staff, interns and guests over the age of three will be required to wear a mask. (WIS)

The South Carolina Railroad Museum reopened to passengers for summer train rides on Saturday, July 11. Added safety precautions include all trains running at 50% capacity with increased sanitation cleanings + all volunteer staff will wear face masks. Passenger face masks are not required, but highly encouraged. The gift shop, self-guided tours through stationary trains and display rooms remain closed to the public until further notice. 

○ Columbia Metropolitan Airport is now offering free masks to any travelers courtesy of The U.S. Department of Transportation. The masks are available at the information desk in the main lobby and in the line at the TSA Security checkpoint. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines serve CAE + each airline is requiring their passengers to wear a mask or face covering onboard their flights.

 After successfully processing holds for over 2,000 customers, Richland Library announced it will expand its limited services. Customers will be able to request new materials over the phone and online and pick them up at any location with a pick-up window (Ballentine, Northeast, Sandhills + St. Andrews). The library will also begin accepting returns at book drop-offs at any library location.

○ Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens is requiring all guests over the age of 10 to wear face masks, due to the mask ordinance within the city of Columbia. Visitors are expected to wear masks indoors + outdoors when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SCEMD is changing parts of the Statewide Hurricane Plan. Officials encourage evacuees to use shelters as a last resort + stay with friends or family inland. More buses will be added to help evacuate affected areas while maintaining social distancing. Click here to download SCEMD’s app to receive important notifications. (WLTX)

○ Columbia City Council has approved $6 million to help the community including $500,000 in zero-interest, forgivable small business loans + $500,000 to support nonprofit organizations focused on providing the needs of seniors, offering homeless resources and supplementing rent assistance programs. (WIS) 

SCDHEC provided Lexington Medical Center and the Department of Corrections main intake center – among other hospitals across the state – with rapid coronavirus testing machines. However, high use of the machines won’t be available immediately due to demand of materials used for testing. (The State)

○ Most SCDMV locations are open on weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. All locations will continue seeing customers by appointment only + continue to limit the number of guests waiting inside. Modified driving tests will be administered at select locations throughout the week to allow for social distancing. (WLTX)

○ SC DHEC + SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation announced that nursing graduates have been granted temporary authorization to practice so they can assist health care facilities with staffing shortages due to COVID-19. (Fox Carolina)

○ UofSC has modified its schedule for the upcoming fall semester. While the university is planning to hold in-person classes beginning in August, fall break will be canceled and classes will be held on Labor Day. Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving break + final exams will be held virtually. The school is also requiring masks to be worn in classrooms, the Russell House + more. (The State)

The University of South Carolina announced that students applying for freshman admission to the main campus will not be required to provide SAT or ACT test scores for the spring, summer or fall 2021 terms due to testing interruptions caused by COVID-19. (The State)

Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. has donated a new Opentrons robotic liquid handler to UofSC to help the university process more COVID-19 tests as the campus prepares to reopen to students this fall. (CRBR)

○ Nephron Pharmaceuticals announced a $50,000 donation to the South Carolina branch of the American Red Cross due to the strain local blood banks have experienced since the beginning of COVID-19. Visit the website to make an appointment to donate. Plus, all blood donations are being tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

○ Midlands Technical College (MTC) has switched the fall course catalog from offering 75% in-person instruction to 45% virtual instruction and 33% in-person instruction. MTC faculty and staff are presenting live virtual class demonstrations today + tomorrow. The virtual class demos are free and will show what the new virtual learning experience will be like.

Historic Columbia gardens have reopened to the public. Visitors will be required to socially distance while viewing the gardens and additional safety measures will be in place. 

Columbia Animal Services has created a free food pantry for those who are struggling to provide food to their pets. Those who are needing pet food can contact the shelter + those who would like to support the pantry can drop off donations outside the shelter, located at 127 Humane Lane, or in the food donations box inside. (WLTX)

West Columbia City Hall has reopened to the public. Social distancing guidelines are in place and signage is posted. Access to City Hall will be restricted from 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. + from 4:00-5:00 p.m. each day to allow for cleaning and sanitizing. The drive-thru will remain open during these times.

The SC House has approved a plan to allocate the CARES Act federal funding the state received. The plan includes expanding broadband access across the state, testing and rebuilding the unemployment trust fund. Roughly $600 million in funding will be saved for future COVID-19 response through the end of this year. (WIS)

○ Governor Henry McMaster announced a sticker program to identify restaurants abiding by CDC and DHEC health recommendations. By obtaining the sticker, the governor also asks participating restaurants to take online courses + have a limited DHEC inspection. An online portal will allow guests to comment on experiences at these restaurants and report any observed behavior that doesn’t follow recommendations. (The State)

The deadline to get a Real ID has been postponed. The ID will eventually be required to board domestic flights. Oct. 1 was the original deadline; there is no official word on the new date. (The State) 

The Palmetto Priority program – an initiative announced by Gov. Henry McMaster earlier this month to encourage safe practices at restaurants – now has 2,500 participants across the state. According to the program, 500 of these restaurants are being added to the website each day. (CRBR)

Columbia City Council members passed an amendment to the Rental Housing Regulations, which makes hosting a house party a serious offense. (WIS)

○ New Brookland Tavern has released plans to reopen for food and beverage service with limited capacity Thursday-Sunday evenings + brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Masks will be required at all times inside the bar except for at tables.

South Carolina State Library is now offering curbside pickup. To participate, browse the library’s catalog, place your selections on hold, then contact the library to arrange a pickup time.

Gamecock Football released plans to allow 20,000 fans in Williams-Brice for the 2020 football season. Other fall sports will also be allowed limited capacity seating at their games. (WLTX)

The City of Cayce has revised its face mask ordinance to include public schools within the city limits. The new ordinance is the first in South Carolina to include the SC Department of Education language in its face covering requirement. (WIS)

The SEC announced that all fans and workers attending college football games will be required to wear face coverings. The stadium capacity decision will be left to individual schools. (WIS)

Gov. Henry McMaster + DHEC announced new nursing home visitation guidelines. Guidelines will include visitations taking place outside, ensuring nursing homes haven’t had positive COVID-19 tests in two weeks + having adequate protective equipment. Visitation will have to be suspended if residents do test positive. (The State)

Earlier this week, the Town of Lexington voted to renew the emergency face mask ordinance that requires coverings to be worn in all retail spaces within town limits. The ordinance was renewed for 60 days.

○ Richland County has also voted to extend its emergency face mask ordinance for two months. The ordinance allows a $25 fine to be issued to those not wearing masks in mandated places + a $100 fine to businesses not requiring masks. (The State)

Columbia City Council voted to extend the mandatory mask ordinance for an additional 60 days yesterday. The vote was unanimous + is the second extension of the emergency ordinance that was originally passed in late June. (Free Times)

○ Late last week, SCDHEC announced the agency + several key partners are developing a statewide COVID-19 vaccination testing plan in accordance with federal guidance. The overarching goal of this vaccination plan will be the equitable distribution of vaccines across the state. (WCSC)

○ SCDHEC announced that the organization is launching a new immunization information system that will help ensure access + availability of essential immunizations to everyone in SC. The Statewide Immunization Online Network (SIMON) will provide a streamlined process for immunization providers to manage vaccine inventory in addition to providing patient reminders and offering a patient portal to view immunization records. (WLTX)

○ Gov. Henry McMaster announced his recommendations for the second round of CARES act funds including $450 million to the Unemployment Trust Fund, $45 million in grants for small businesses + non-profit organizations that did not receive federal PPP loans, and $93 million to reimburse DHEC and MUSC. The governor also recommends $50 million to be reimbursed for public school districts and charter schools and $100 million to state agencies with COVID-19 related expenses.

Schedule Changes + Closures 

Last night, the SEC released full schedules, including dates, for the 2020 football season. Check out the Gamecocks’ schedule here. (SEC)

○ Crash Course Columbia announced that it has moved all tour dates to 2021. Crash Course Columbia is a behind the scenes look at popular Columbia attractions hosted by Columbia Opportunity Resource.

Conference Carolinas has joined the many other leagues nationwide that are postponing fall sports to the spring. More information on which sports are being affected here. (The State)

This year’s Famously Hot New Year celebration, an annual event that draws thousands to Main Street, will be held virtually due to COVID-19 concerns. While plans aren’t finalized, the celebration still plans to feature performances + a fireworks show. (WLTX)

Junior League of Columbia has cancelled the 2020 Holiday Market due to concerns over the coronavirus. The festivities will resume in 2021 from December 1-5.

Special Olympics South Carolina announced the cancellation of this year’s fall games, originally scheduled for October at Coastal Carolina University. (WIS)

The South Carolina Band Directors Association announced that high school band championships (upper state, lower state + state championship) have been cancelled for the 2020 season. Currently, a spring season is still a possibility. (The State)

○ Benedict College’s football season, and all fall sports, have been cancelled for the 2020 season. The SAIC, the conference which Benedict is a part of, announced that it would cancel all fall sports due to COVID-19 concerns. Some sports may be considered to move to the spring semester. (The State)

The Rosé Festival has been postponed until May 16, 2021 due to coronavirus concerns. Those who purchased tickets can email F2T Productions for a refund or transfer their ticket to the 2021 date. Check out other 2021 event dates by F2T Productions here.

The fifth annual Columbia Shrimp and Grits Festival previously rescheduled for Septemberhas been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. Organizers are planning for a larger event in 2021. (Cola Daily)

Put up your lederhosen back in the closet – the 2020 Columbia Oktoberfest has been cancelled due to concerns over the coronavirus.

○ Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have officially announced the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, which means the Columbia Fireflies season has been cancelled. 

The 2020 Columbia Greek Festival has been cancelled. Organizers of the event stated they would have been unable to comply with COVID-19 health + safety guidelines. (WIS)

○ The 2020 SC Pride Festival and Parade, originally scheduled for Oct. 16, has been cancelled. The festival has only been cancelled one other time since it began in 1990.

○ Columbia City Ballet has cancelled its annual fall show, Dracula: Ballet with A Bite, for the first time in 24 years due to the coronavirus. (Cola Daily)

The Harbison Theater has postponed its season until January. Many shows that were cancelled due to the pandemic have been rescheduled for spring. View an updated list of rescheduled shows here. (Free Times)

City of West Columbia’s third annual Kinetic Derby Day has been cancelled. The planning committee announced that the fourth annual event will return on April 24, 2021.

The 2020 Festival of Trees, an annual event held by Prisma Health Midlands Foundation to raise money for the children’s hospital, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. (WLTX)

○ Dominion Energy postponed opening public recreation facilities including the beach + recreation area on the Lexington side of the Lake Murray dam. The boat launch on the Irmo side of the dam will remain open. (WIS)

All Richland County Government facilities are restricted to essential personnel only. Many services and payments are still available through its website.

Historic Columbia closed visitation until further notice to its historic house museums, including Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, the Museum of Reconstruction at Woodrow Wilson Family Home, and the Mann-Simons Site. During this closure, the house museums are not open to visitors or researchers. Any scheduled school + group visits are canceled

UofSC released guidelines for fans attending football games with parking lots operated by the Athletics Department opening two and half hours prior to kickoff. Fans are asked not to use tents + discouraged from tailgating, using grills or bringing coolers. Additionally, face masks will be required to enter the stadium. (Fox Carolina)

The 47th annual Irmo Okra Strut Festival, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 25-26, has been cancelled. Organizers have said planning for the 2021 event will begin in December. (WLTX)

○ City of Columbia’s 6th annual Park(ing) Day celebrations will be virtual this year due to the coronavirus. The goal of PARK(ing) Day is to raise awareness for the need for more urban open space + educate on how public space is created and allocated.

The Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network (WREN) has moved its annual summit to a virtual format this year. The fourth annual conference – themed #WRENThisTogether Virtual – includes a six-week series that will begin on Thursday, Sept. 10 and is free for attendees.

○ The Great American Whiskey Fair has been cancelled due to concerns about the coronavirus. F2T Productions will host a smaller, VIP Whiskey Dinner on Friday, October 8th at City Roots Farm

Earlier this week, the Richland County Recreation Commission reopened all athletic fields and playgrounds as part of phase four of the reopening plan. Social distancing and other health measures will be required. (WIS)

○ Lexington County Library has reopened its Lexington Main, Irmo and Cayce-West Columbia locations with limited hours for browsing, computers by appointment and mobile printing. Those who visit will have their temperatures taken at the door + will be required to wear a face mask at all times.

The annual Economic Outlook Series held by UofSC’s Darla Moore School of Business will take place Sept. 20 and Nov. 30 as live streaming events this year. Find more information and register for the events here. (CRBR)

Community Resources + Support 

Needing to get a flu shot? Sam’s Club Pharmacy can schedule a visit to your businesses and organizations in the area at no extra charge or you can visit them during business hours Monday-Friday from 9a.m. – 7p.m. and Saturdays from 9a.m. – 6p.m. Each shot takes less than five minutes. 

DHEC released a new dashboard, which provides detailed data from the county-level to look at the impacts of COVID-19 in SC. This new dashboard was developed by DHEC’s data analysts, GIS specialists + epidemiologists using information gathered through the agency’s expansive coronavirus monitoring resources. View the dashboard here.

○ South Carolina Emergency Management Division released a map to track which municipalities are requiring face masks. Currently, 60 municipalities + 10 counties have an ordinance in place. Check out the map here.

○ Remaining aware of potential scam attempts is important. A contact tracer will never ask for your social security number, money, bank account or credit card number, or immigrant status. If you are concerned about whether a caller is a real DHEC official, verify their identity by asking them to send you an email (the address should end with @dhec.sc.gov) or calling the DHEC regional epidemiology office to confirm the caller’s name and credentials. Learn about reporting potential scams here.

○ Mobile hotspots + monthly internet access will be available to at least 100,000 SC families with priority given to households in counties with a school district having a poverty rate of 86%, as defined by the SC Department of Education. (WIS)

The Columbia Chamber has compiled a list of resources, which will continue to be updated as more information is available, for businesses navigating the coronavirus pandemic. Check out the resources here.

○ DHEC has created an activity book, titled “Why Can’t I”, to help young children understand the effects of COVID-19. The book includes coloring activities and explanations of why everyone needs to wash their hands, stay home when they don’t feel well + cover their coughs. Download the book here.

○ The Nickelodeon Theatre launched its Virtual Screening Room an option for indie film lovers to watch movies that aren’t available on other platforms from their own homes. Check out The Nick’s website for more information on films and showtimes.

○ Customers of Dominion Energy can schedule a free, contactless appliance pickup. The older, unused, or secondary refrigerators and freezers collected will be recycled through the company’s appliance recycling program. To schedule a pickup visit the website or call 877-510-7234. (Metro Columbia CEO)

 ○ The SC Department of Mental Health released a toll-free number for those who speak Spanish. The anonymous Spanish support line is available Monday – Friday from 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., with the exception of state holidays. (Cola Daily)

UofSC will offer saliva-based testing to students and faculty. The testing will allow for rapid results, usually within 24 hours. UofSC is currently the only school in the state to offer this method of COVID-19 testing. (Cola Daily)

○ UofSC’s COVID-19 dashboard is now live. The website reports current conditions on campus and shows a breakdown of total cases. (UofSC)

○ The South Carolina Bar + South Carolina Legal Services have partnered to create a hotline service that is available to state residents facing evictions or other housing-related legal issues due to the coronavirus. The toll-free hotline can be reached at 1-833-958-2266. Callers are asked to leave a message with details about the help requested + contact information. (CRBR)

Due to the increased risk of the flu this year, Prisma Health has launched a campaign to reduce the cost of flu vaccines. The Richland Hospital-based COVID-19 testing site will begin offering flu shots. There will also be a variety of locations offering free flu shots; check out the list of locations here. (ABC Columbia)

○ All South Carolina students will receive free breakfast + lunch through the end of 2020 due to an extension of the USDA’s summer food service program waiver. Families do not have to meet specific requirements and meals will be distributed through curbside pick-up or drop off at predetermined locations. (WLTX)

Business and Employment Resources 

The SC Department of Employment and Workforce has created a new online hub with resources for workers whose employment has been affected by COVID-19. 

If you are out of work due to the pandemic, you can use this link to file for unemployment.

Business owners should be on the lookout for attempted fraud. Scammers have been attempting to take advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak, and have reportedly been reaching out to businesses while posing as representatives of Dominion Energy. (CRBJ) 

SC Gov. Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-22, which allows furloughed employees to receive “COVID-19 Support Payments” from their employers and still qualify for unemployment benefits.

SC Department of Employment and Workforce will begin highlighting the top ‘life boat’ jobs in the state each week. A ‘life boat’ job is a position that an individual, with specific experience, can quickly transition into to achieve financial stability. (WLTX)

○ SC Department of Employment and Workforce announced that SC was approved for the Lost Wages Assistance program. Eligible claimants can receive an additional $300 per week. (WLTX)

○ The Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative is now available to those receiving unemployment insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of and Employment and Workforce partnered with Coursera to offer over 4,000 courses and certifications to SC residents free of charge. Participants must register by Oct. 31 and can complete as many classes as they like by Dec. 31. (WIS)

○ DHEC has launched a new COVID-19 pledge project, Stay SC Strong, to encourage the business community to practice safe habits during the pandemic. When businesses sign the pledge, they’ll receive a social media graphic announcing their pledge to fight COVID-19.

Educational Resources 

○ The SC Department of Education has released a new website to provide information and resources encouraging social emotional learning for students and teachers. The website has lessons available for elementary, middle and high school level students + online training for teachers. (CRBR)

EdVenture Children’s Museum is offering educational programs, including videos and downloadable activities, for children to do at home. New resources will be posted to their website each day. (WLTX)

○ Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is offering Z-learning to children and families. The program occurs each weekday at 10 a.m. through Facebook Live and other interactions. (WIS)

Scholastic is offering free programs through its “Learn at Home” websitefor children during school closures. The website caters to children from pre-k to sixth grade and higher and currently has five days of lessons and 15 more days on the way. Students can register on the website for free access from any device.

In an effort to help balance virtual learning and working from home, CoCreate Lexington, a female-focused coworking space, is launching CoCreate Academy, a safe learning environment for children. Children will be supervised by a teacher and be in small groups, which will meet twice a week for 3.5 hours. One parent of participating children will receive a CoCreate Lexington membership.

 Gov. Henry McMaster announced the state’s plan to use SCETV’s television signal to deliver school lessons to students without broadband internet access through a process called datacasting. The plan is intended to broaden accessibility until broadband access can be expanded across the state. (WLTX)

Senior Resources 

○ The Original Blue Ribbon Taxi Company is providing free rides to seniors living in lower income communities who are going to doctors appointments, grocery stores or the pharmacy. You must be over 60 years old and live in the city Columbia to receive a free ride. (WLTX

Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission is offering free + lower priced meal delivery through their Meals on Wheels program. Seniors living in Lexington County, who are unable to cook for themselves, can qualify for five meals a week. (The State) 

Health Care Resources

CDC Resources

World Health Organization Resources

○ BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, South Carolina Hospital Association and South Carolina Medical Association have created the ‘Slow the Spread’ public service campaign in an effort to encourage the public to limit exposure COVID-19. The Slow the Spread website will be updated with resources and recommendations from the CDC. (Metro Columbia CEO)

Anyone in South Carolina who has COVID-19-like symptoms can use MUSC Health’s Virtual Care system for free by using the promo code COVID19.

○ Providence Hospital is accepting donations of unused, handmade personal protective equipment. To help prepare for an increase in demand, the hospital is accepting disposable masks, gloves and gowns, including the N95 respirators, goggles or face shields, and hand sanitizer. (WACH FOX)

Planning to utilize one of the drive-thru coronavirus testing sites? Here’s what you need to know before you go. (The State)

Community Conversations

5 easy ways to give back to the community

Quarantine date night ideas

How 6 Richland County manufacturers are giving back

Senior grocery resources in Columbia

COVID-19’s impact on travel and tourism in Columbia, SC

7 local businesses with immune boosting products

Mental health tips + resources in Columbia

Companies hiring ASAP in Columbia

SC COVID-19 unemployment numbers

City of Columbia mandatory mask ordinance

COLAtoday talks coronavirus testing

Back-To-School in the Midlands 

SC State Fair: the drive-thru edition

Join our pen pal program, Columbia 

Coronavirus changes on the University of South Carolina campus

2020 College Football Season Updates

Columbia’s outdoor venues are ready to rock

Learning pods pop up in Cola

A travel update from Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) during COVID-19