Oct 262020

The Columbia Rotary Club hosted the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce at its Monday October 5th luncheon meeting to hear about the impact of COVID-19, the State’s and businesses’ response, and economic growth in our State. The Club welcomed Ted Pitts, President and CEO of the Chamber, who discussed multiple challenges employees and employers have faced as they begin to return to work. Childcare has been a huge issue as a number of children are doing remote learning, either partially or entirely, and Ted has seen some larger employers provide in-house childcare and remote school support. Businesses and employees are both realizing how significant culture and collaboration is for a company’s success and employees’ wellbeing. The Chamber anticipates that it will take seven to nine years to return to pre-COVID unemployment rates. The State has focused on getting broadband access across the states, and Ted noted this is a bipartisan issue as 150,000 South Carolina households do not have adequate internet access. Remote learning has highlighted the lack of internet access a number of families face (schools have been unable to contact a shocking 17% of students since schools closed in the spring). Beyond schooling, reliable internet is essential for telework and telemedicine. Telemedicine is particularly crucial for our senior and rural population. Despite COVID, our State’s healthcare, life sciences, and technology sectors are growing. Ted said our businesses are confident in the long term success of the State’s economy, and are more concerned with the short time impact of COVID, with one of the biggest issues employers face is the potential liability related to COVID.  Ted emphasized that South Carolina’s future is bright despite the struggles we currently face in light of the pandemic. You can watch his whole presentation here: https://columbiarotaryclub.org/2020/10/13/monday-oct-5th-transcripts-available/

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