COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told state leaders it could be late June before they might be able to come back to continue their work.
McMaster made the statement Thursday in a letter to Sen. President Harvey Peeler and South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas.
McMaster was discussing with them options for bringing back the legislature to deal with pressing business, including emergency spending for the coronavirus and the state budget.
In it, he said that state health leaders say the number of COVID-19 deaths and fatalities will peak around May 1 and have a gradual decline afterward. He told them returning to the State House before May 14 could place the health and safety of members at elevated risk for exposure to the virus.
"However, I believe--I hope--that by late June that risk will have diminished to the extent that businesses and activities in our state may be safely resumed and conducted using personal safety precautions."
He closed by saying he wanted to work with them to "accelerate South Carolina's economic restart."
McMaster said Monday he's hoping to begin reopening parts of the economy as soon as possible.
For his part, Peeler wrote back saying the following:
"I appreciate the Governor's offer to call the legislature back in June. I view the Governor's letter as an insurance policy. However, like all insurance policies, I hope it is one that is never needed. I, like most South Carolinians, hope our state and our legislature can be back at work much sooner so that his offer will not be necessary."