This Op-Ed was published in The Post and Courier on June 29, 2020. Available here.
June 29, 2020
Written by Willis Cantey, Chairman of the Board, and Bryan Derreberry, President and CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber
Each day, we all watch as coronavirus cases reach record highs. Our alarming growth rates are generating increasing concern for our health and our economy. The tri-county region is currently experiencing a startling 8.8% increase in daily cases. According to MUSC, we could have over 45,000 active cases by August and our medical system could reach maximum capacity in the fall. We are quickly exhausting our grace period.
Our region is rapidly approaching crisis mode. This means all patients, whether seeking medical help for coronavirus or another reason, will be challenged in receiving the level of care they need. It is time to listen to our medical professionals and start taking the necessary precautions.
We, as a community, can change this course by acting now. We can choose to take responsibility and accountability to mitigate the rate of transmission. The future well-being of our community depends on it. The Charleston Metro Chamber urges every citizen and every business to diligently follow the four safety protocols laid out by our health professionals: always wearing a mask when in public, maintaining a six foot social distance, following hand washing best practices and protecting our vulnerable populations.
While practicing these protocols creates a slight inconvenience in our lives, it more importantly demonstrates our personal commitment to keep our community safe and healthy. It is a small price to pay to help protect our family, friends and neighbors from becoming critically ill. It is a simple action to help our students return to school in the fall and get us back to doing all the things we love quicker.
We still need to keep our guard up. Our region is not in the clear. Taking these four simple precautions will help ensure our region can safely remain open and our economy has the opportunity for a healthy recovery.
One Region Ready has released a safety-based set of reopening guidelines, in line with accelerateSC and SCDHEC. We ask each business to visit oneregionready.com and commit to following these safety protocols. By signing and practicing the One Region Ready Pledge, you are demonstrating to your customers, clients and employees that you care about them and are part of the recovery solution. Labels and words won’t take us down the path to beating the coronavirus – we need action.
Let’s join together by personally acknowledging that our nation is facing an unprecedented pandemic. Let’s write another rich chapter in our region’s history by playing a role in bringing this pandemic to an end: washing our hands frequently, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and respecting the health of every person. Now is our time for action.
Chairman of the Board
Charleston Metro Chamber
President and CEO
Charleston Metro Chamber