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S.C. Gov. McMaster announces inside dine-in restaurant reopening, churches possibly next

Updated: May. 8, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) -For the past couple of weeks, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster started gradually reopening the state.

First, he reopened non-essential businesses that he closed two weeks prior. Then, he announced restaurants could start dine-in services outside.

On Friday, the governor announced dine-in services would start again on Monday, May 11.

These restaurants can open under strict safety guidelines.

Restaurants can only have 50 percent of the occupancy determined by the fire marshal.

Tables have to be six to eight feet apart with no more than eight people at a table.

Sanitizing has increased as well. Tables, chairs, doorknobs, etc. need to be sanitized thoroughly. Condiments cannot be on the table and can only be available on request.

Restaurants are not the only place on the horizon to reopen.

Churches could be next on the list.

”Pastor we just want to be together," Pastor Jay Rebsamen said. “This is how God has made us. We want to be together.”

Rebsamen has been hearing that from his congregation on repeat, but it has not been a possibility for the church until a Zoom call from Gov. McMaster.

”He shared with us that we needed to be careful as we were reopening up our churches," Rabsamen said.

McMaster thanked pastors across the state for listening to his online or drive-in services request.

He told them only a couple of short weeks stood in between the pastors reopening their closed doors.

”I felt very relieved after having a video call with the governor that the direction we were headed really ran parallel with what the governor asked us to do," Rabsamen said.

Rabsemen will have two weeks of drive-in church services in the parking lot. Cars will be spaced out for social distance but the congregation will worship together again.

”The word is hope. I see more hope than ever before as we are sitting here in eight weeks. We need to be wise but we don’t need to live in fear," Rebsamen said.

Rebsamen wants to have the first indoor service since March on Memorial Day weekend.

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