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Commentary: 4 steps to save tri-county region from COVID-19 crisis

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Each day, we watch as new coronavirus cases reach record highs. The alarming growth rates are causing increasing concern for our health and our economy.

The tri-county region is experiencing an 8.8% increase in daily cases. According to MUSC, we could have more than 45,000 active cases by August, and our medical system could reach capacity in the fall. We are quickly exhausting our grace period.

Our region is rapidly approaching crisis mode. This means all patients, whether seeking medical care for coronavirus or another reason, will be challenged in getting the level of care they need. It’s time to listen to our medical professionals and start taking the necessary precautions.

As a community, we can change this course by acting now. We can choose to take responsibility for lowering the transmission rate. The well-being of our community depends on it.

The Charleston Metro Chamber urges every citizen and every business to diligently follow the four safety protocols laid out by our health professionals: Always wear a mask when in public; stay at least 6 feet away from others in public; follow hand-washing best practices; and protect our vulnerable populations.

While adhering to these practices creates a slight inconvenience in our lives, doing so demonstrates a personal commitment to keeping our community safe and healthy. It’s a small price to pay to help protect our family, friends and neighbors from becoming ill. These are simple actions to help our students return to school in the fall and get us back to doing all the things we love more quickly.

Taking these four simple precautions will help ensure our region can remain open and our economy has the opportunity for a healthy recovery.

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One Region Ready has released a safety-based set of reopening guidelines, in line with accelerateSC and DHEC. We ask each business to visit oneregionready.com and commit to following these safety protocols.

By signing and practicing the One Region Ready pledge, you are demonstrating to your customers, clients and employees that you care about them and are part of the recovery solution.

Labels and words won’t defeat the novel coronavirus. We need action.

Let’s join together by acknowledging that our nation is facing an unprecedented pandemic. Let’s write another rich chapter in our region’s history by playing a role in bringing this plague to an end: washing our hands frequently, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and respecting the health of every person.

Now is our time for action.

Willis Cantey and Bryan Derreberry serve as the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s chairman of the board and president-CEO, respectively.

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