On Wednesday, June 23, at 9 a.m., South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette spoke to Myrtle Beach Area Chamber’s board of directors during a multiday trip to the area that included touring area businesses.
While Evette is from South Carolina’s Upstate, the Grand Strand is near and dear to her heart, she said. “My husband and I have had a second home here in Myrtle Beach for 15 years now and we love this area.”
Leading the list of topics that Evette discussed at the meeting where the Grand Strand’s tourism recovery and workforce shortages.
“The hardest-hit areas of our state have been our wonderful tourism and coastal communities, but you are coming back like never before,” Evette said. “We keep close track of what’s happening, and we know that reservations are up. We had the Carolina Country Music Festival right here in the Grand Strand with 35,000 people in attendance. We were the first state to open up to that magnitude. Great things are happening here.”
When looking at the nation as a whole, South Carolina has been well-positioned to recover due to the state’s focus on businesses, Evette said. “This administration has really fought hard for business and making sure that we impacted businesses as least as possible. We were the last state to close and the first state to open up.”
Workforce development is also an important component to supporting business growth, she emphasized while recognizing that labor shortages are straining area businesses. “I know it doesn’t make you feel better if you need to hire people, but this is an issue that is not only happening all across our state but it’s happening across our country.”
To combat workforce shortages, Gov. Henry McMaster was the first state leader to issue stop orders on federal unemployment compensations and now all the republican governors have done so, Evette explained, adding that as a result, businesses are seeing an uptick in applications.
As per McMaster’s directive, South Carolina will opt out of the federal pandemic programs with claim week ending June 26, 2021. For more information click here.
In addition, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) will help businesses find employees and will revoke unemployment benefits from those who refuse to accept a job offer. “We are being as proactive as we can to get people back to work,” she said. “If they’re not willing to go back to work, then we’re not willing to pay them.”
Evette also discussed the need for South Carolina communities to reduce littering and dumping, which she explained contribute to flooding issues, discourage economic development and tourism, and cause unnecessary clean-up expenditures.
“I want to thank this chamber for putting together a Keep Myrtle Beach Beautiful initiative,” she said. “We can all make an impact. That litter starts getting into the canals and that litter gets in storm drains and starts backing everything up. You talk to businesses and they will tell you companies have come to South Carolina, saw the trash all over our freeways and turned around and left. I know that this being such a big tourism area, how that impacts you. People don’t want to come to an area that doesn’t seem clean. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars picking up trash around our state. Imagine what we could better use that money for.”
Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is in the process of being certified as an official affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. Click here to learn more or email KeepMyrtleBeachBeautiful@VisitMyrtleBeach.com.
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