The clock is ticking: Last week marked the one-year countdown for U.S. residents to obtain a special ID to board a commercial flight, and tens of millions of Americans have yet to get one.
By Oct. 1, 2020, the "Real ID" will be required to get on domestic flights and enter secure federal buildings and military installations.
Other documentation, mainly passports and passport cards, will be considered Real ID-compliant and can also be used after the Oct. 1 deadline. Passports will still be required for international air travel.
According to the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, most Palmetto State residents haven't made the switch yet. The agency said it will likely have issued 1 million of the updated driver's licenses that incorporate the Real ID designation by mid-October.
Nationwide, the U.S. Travel Association estimates some 99 million Americans do not have the identification they'll need to board a plane next October.
In addition to likely DMV backlogs and confusion at airports, association president Roger Dow said the transition could do "significant damage" to the economy due to travel disruptions.
South Carolina's DMV started issuing the IDs in early 2018. Some states have had the licenses for much longer after Congress passed an act in 2005 that required them. But South Carolina resisted for years, citing the high cost of the switch.
SCDMV executive director Kevin Shwedo put out a call to residents to plan ahead and get their IDs now to avoid the long lines that officials anticipate a year from now.
"To think that lines won't reach four to six hours in South Carolina is a myth, and we're urging you to prove us wrong by preparing now," Shwedo said.
Starting this month, the DMV will mail out notices to about 500,000 state residents who are eligible to purchase the Real IDs online without visiting one of its branches. For online purchases, the photo and signature the DMV has on file will be used for the new license, and the ID card will be delivered by mail.
To get a Real ID in South Carolina, residents will have to bring in: two proofs of a current address; a birth certificate or passport; and proof of a Social Security number and all legal name changes, if the latter applies.
Best new build
A West Ashley hotel on Savannah Highway was recognized as one of the best new builds of the year in North America by hotel giant Hilton.
The 150-room Home2 Suites was selected from 187 other lodgings of the same brand that opened in 2018.
It was named alongside properties like the Foundry Hotel in downtown Asheville. Built at the site of a former steel mill, the 87-room hotel is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, an upscale “soft” brand for boutique lodgings. Charleston-based Charlestowne Hotels is managing it.
A new Homewood Suites in downtown Greenville was also recognized.
The winning Home2 Suites is managed by Palas Hospitality, which also owns the Market Pavilion Hotel on East Bay Street and the Town & Country Inn on Savannah Highway.
The West Ashley hotel is the Charleston area's third location for the Home2 Suites flag. The mid-tier, all-suite brand also has locations in North Charleston and Mount Pleasant.