After two long months, the Greenville Zoo — and other tourist attractions across South Carolina — are reopening as the number of new coronavirus cases plateaus in the state.
Gov. Henry McMaster in his latest order lifted restrictions on arcades; tourist attractions such as museums, aquariums, planetariums, zip lines, bumper cars and go-kart racing; indoor children’s play areas; bingo halls and venues operated by social clubs.
“We can’t keep things closed forever,” McMaster said at a news conference with state health officials on May 20. “The Constitution doesn’t allow it, and neither does common sense or the economy.”
The governor said his Accelerate South Carolina task force had recommended lifting restrictions on attractions ahead of Memorial Day weekend. However, night clubs, bowling alleys, concert venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers, racetracks and adult entertainment venues were not included in the May 20 announcement.
Guidelines for those venues will be coming soon, McMaster said.
“Those are recommendations that have been vetted by our team,” he said.
Two days after McMaster’s announcement, the Greenville Zoo said it would reopen to the general public on June 8. A special members-only opening is planned for May 29-31.
To ensure safe social distancing, zoo staffers said only a limited number of tickets will be available online each day.
“We will not be able to accommodate guests without an online reservation, including members,” the zoo’s website states.
Additional safety precautions will also be in play.
Meanwhile, youth and adult sports leagues, including American Legion, Little League, Dixie Youth, soccer, lacrosse and flag football can resume on May 30, McMaster said.
Despite the reopenings, state epidemiologist Linda Bell continued to urge people to avoid large crowds, practice social distancing and wear masks.
Her concerns were echoed by McMaster.
“The virus is still here. It’s just as strong as it was in the beginning, and we must continue to be very careful,” he said.