South Carolina boat ramps reopening part of larger plan

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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CLOVER, S.C. (WBTV) - South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced Thursday he would reopen the boat ramps for people to use. Friday at noon, people flocked to the Buster Boyd Boat Access in Clover to get on the water.

Boaters, fisherman, and people aiming for relaxation gathered at the stateline to enjoy the nice weather after Governor McMaster said he’d open boat ramps to accelerate the reopening of the state.

Boating is limited to two people per boat unless it is family members from the same household. People are still not allowed to beach or raft on boats. The revision to the exective order does not include piers, docks, and wharfs or opening of public beaches.

A few fishermen say they did not understand why the boating ramps were closed when people could easily socially distance on the water.

Reggie Pollock knew why the governor closed the boat ramps, but knew he would take his boat out as soon as he heard the announcement.

”I was happy. As a fisherman I thought it was a good thing," says Pollock. “Hopefully we’ll do right and be able to keep them open.”

Others said the announcement thrilled them since fishing was how they made their living.

”For some fishermen that’s how they supply food for their families," says A.J. Brackins, a fisherman who came out on the water. "That’s how we supply food for ours. You know that’s how we do it so you know it was hurtful but gladly he saw the need to open them back up.”

Reopening the ramps is a small part of a bigger plan for reopening South Carolina. McMaster also announced Accelerate South Carolina at the press conference. He says the plan will help get South Carolinians working again.

He aims to bring back the growth the state saw before the coronavirus and revitalize the economy again. A group of people from industries like manufacturing and tourism will come up with a plan for Accelerate SC.

The announcement came before South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said the state had close to 280 new cases of the coronavirus. The state’s total rose to almost 4,000 on Thursday with the new cases. On Friday, the state surpassed that number by 86. Brackins says the state can reopen without jeopardizing protection.

”I understand you got to be safe you got to be the social distancing, but there’s ways that we can open back up and still have the safety we need to get the ma and pa stores back in operation," he says.

A few people came down to the boating ramps to see how many people would be outside. They said it was way too early to talk about reopening South Carolina.

McMaster says he will announce more next week.

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