Drum roll, please!

We are excited to see that South Carolina restaurants are open. On March 17th, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster closed all restaurants and bars in the state in an effort to help control the spread of the coronavirus. Restaurant take-out, drive-thru and food delivery could continue, however. That meant no more patronizing your favorite restaurant with family, friends and co-workers – although many were already working from home.

From farm-to-table to cooking more at home.

It also meant that, while South Carolina’s farms kept growing, farmers were unable to sell much of what they grew. All of a sudden, farm-to-table pretty much came to a grinding halt and revenue streams were cut off. (Check out our blog on how consumers are finding ways to continue to buy local even while we are apart.)

So, like everyone else, we started cooking more at home. After not too long though, we were bored with the meals we usually make. We also discovered how much more we were using our dishwasher. I had to re-attach two wheels that fell off the lower rack and the lower spray arms. First time for everything, right?

Regardless, it was great to grill more. But it would also have been nice to enjoy some outside dining and socializing during arguably one of the best springs we’ve had in a long time.

I get it though. Flatten the curve. Impede the spread. The longer more of us stay home, the faster we get through this. We all know the drill by now.

Fast forward to May 4th.

That’s when South Carolina restaurants re-opened for outdoor dining and were required to follow social distancing rules. Just seven days later, restaurants could open for indoor dining and were asked to follow several recommendations:

  • Tables six to eight feet apart
  • No more than 50% capacity
  • Health checks for employees
  • Social distancing
  • Make hand sanitizer available
  • Provide condiments only upon request

This slow return to a sense of normal was a welcome relief, not just for those who were craving their favorite over-the-river wings or snacking on a bag of peanuts before enjoying one of the best burgers in town. It also meant chefs, cooks and servers could come back to work. And local farmers and farms could start delivering more fresh produce and other ingredients that go into making our favorite dine-out dishes. Farm-to-table was starting to make a comeback.

So, to help spread the word, the SC Department of Agriculture teamed up with SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism (PRT) and the SC Restaurant and Lodging Association to create a spot for Certified South Carolina that conveyed the anticipation we were all having for restaurants re-opening and the joy of finally being able to go out and enjoy your favorites.

Welcome back, South Carolina restaurants. We look forward to dining with you.