Coronavirus Pandemic hits locally

Our World Has Changed
In the last four days, since Sunday, fears, concerns and precautions associated with the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have resulted in major changes to everyday life. Social distancing has become the new norm.
In South Carolina, and locally, it started with runs on toilet paper and hand sanitizer going into the weekend, then with the announcement Sunday of nine new cases of COVID-19 identified in the state, Governor Henry McMaster announced that schools were closing statewide. AnMed Health announced that two patients had tested positive for COVID-19.
By Monday,  meat counters, vegetables and other items began to disappear from grocery shelves. The Journal was inundated with new releases and emails announcing cancellations of meetings, events and more for at least two weeks. President Trump announced coronavirus guidelines for America to help slow the spread over the next fifteen days. (See story inside). With those guidelines, state, county and local municipalities made more announcements of reduced services and limited contact with customers by governments and businesses. Recommendations to avoid social gathering of 100 went to groups of 50 and then 10. By Tuesday, even more closings and restrictions, with the announcement from the governor that bars and restaurant dining areas would be closed. Drive-thrus and delivery is still be available for now.
As of Wednesday, The Journal compiled a list of actions being taken locally to help prevent the further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community. Here are some of the closings and notices that may affect our readers the most:
All Anderson County Library System locations are closed until further notice. For questions or more information, call the Anderson Main Library at 864-260-4500.
All outlying Magistrates Offices in Pendleton, Belton, Honea Path, Powdersville, Williamston, and Iva have been closed until further notice.
Anderson County Summary Courts Criminal, Traffic, and Civil Court Cases have been postponed through April 13, 2020.  This includes all Bench and Jury Trials both criminal, traffic and civil. All individuals who had court scheduled during this time will be sent a notice once their case has been rescheduled.
The Anderson Magistrate Office in the Ronald Townsend Building located at 2404 N. Main Street, Anderson will only be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with limited access to the public for the following: Acceptance of filings and payments (including bonds) and Emergency hearings (including, but not limited to: restraining orders, orders of protection, bond revocation/modification, and vacating of bench warrants).
Anderson School District One has been approved to distribute lunch/breakfast at Cedar Grove Elementary, Palmetto Elementary, Concrete Primary (beginning March 18), and Spearman Elementary (beginning March 19) between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm. (Pick up lunch and breakfast will be offered for the following day.) Any student 18 or under is eligible to participate.
All district field trips for the month of March have been cancelled.
Currently District One does not plan to make changes to the Spring Break scheduled for April 6-April 10. School District One plans to be closed on April 13.
The Powdersville YMCA facilities will be closed for two weeks with plans to reopen Wednesday, April 1st at 8 am. As with many others, they will continue to evaluate the risks and will determine whether conditions allow to reopen.
Powdersville YMCA will continue to operate full day childcare programs in Easley and Powdersville for elementary age students of families who work in the healthcare, emergency response and other critical industries.
City of Greenville Mayor Knox White took emergency action Tuesday requiring bars, restaurants and breweries to limit service to curbside pick-up and drive-thru, closing indoor eating and drinking areas. Governor McMaster made the announcement that the same actions would be in force statewide.
AnMed Health announced patient visitation was being restricted and visiting hours reduced.
AnMed Health will conduct screening (not testing) for COVID-19 outside the entrance of the Emergency Department (ED) and other entrances at the Medical Center located at 800 N. Fant Street in Anderson.
AnMed Health will also offer  physician-ordered COVID-19 drive-through testing at the entrance of the D.K Oglesby Center, which is located near the flag poles at the North Campus, 2000 East Greenville Street in Anderson. The testing will be only for at-risk, symptomatic patients who have physician-ordered testing which has been scheduled by an ordering physician. Hours are currently planned for 9 a.m. to noon, Monday-Friday.

Anderson County has restricted public access to County buildings effective at open of business on Wednesday. County offices will be open, and staff will provide services by telephone, email, and online.

The Town of Williamston announced today that all town parks will be closed until April 1. All town events at parks and public spaces will also be suspended until April 1. The Williamston Recreation Department postponed all practice for Tball, baseball and girls softball until after March 31st. Access to all public buildings will be restricted.  Payments will be accepted over the phone, online, by mail, the drive-thru, and by utilizing the payment drop box located on the left of the front entrance of Town Hall. Phone payments will only be accepted during business hours of Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.  (For more See separate story).
The Town of West Pelzer will modify services through Monday, April 6th. Access to public buildings is restricted to appointment only; All essential services should be conducted by phone or email.  To schedule an appointment, please call 864-947-6297 Extension 107). (For more See separate story).
Upstate Federal announced their Saturday Branch will be closed Mar. 21 and 28. Teller transactions will only be conducted in the Drive Thru and access to the lobby will be by appointment only. Call your local branch with any questions.
First Citizens Bank in Williamston announced Wednesday that they are closing the lobby for an undetermined period of time in order to honor the government request to limit gatherings to 10 or less people.
The bank will remain fully staffed with full service capabilities and will allow customers inside the lobby by appointment to open a new account or for loan inquiries.
The Palmetto Business Association canceled the Community Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 4.
The Mill Town Players have canceled upcoming shows Simple Man and A Pelzer Gospel Homecoming.
 Judges of the Tenth Judicial Circuit have canceled all jury trials, non-jury matters, and motions in the Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions Court thru April 3, 2020.  Transfer Court for Thursday, March 19th has been canceled.  All matters on the docket of the Master-in-Equity have been canceled thru Friday, April 3, 2020.
Family Court judges will only hear emergency matters to include DSS Emergency Protective Custody, Juvenile Detentions, Bench Warrants and Emergency Petitions for Orders of Protection from Domestic Abuse.  In these emergency hearings, only attorneys, their clients and necessary witnesses will be allowed in the courthouse.  All routine hearings regarding child support have been suspended at this time.
Tenth Judicial Circuit have excused any citizens called to jury duty for Circuit Court for the weeks of March 23rd and March 30th.  If you received a juror summons, you do NOT have to appear at the Anderson County Courthouse.
The Anderson County Courthouse is open, but public access is being restricted.  All offices are operating and employees are available during our normal business hours via telephone or e-mail.
State School Superintendent Molly Spearman has asked the federal government to cancel the statewide testing that usually happens in the spring.
Elections, including the Pelzer Special Election, have been postponed and rescheduled until after May 1
The Piedmont Mothers Club annual Spring Tea scheduled for March 28 at the Piedmont Community Building has been cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date. For more information call Donna Hopkins at 1-864-859-0189 or cell 915-5872.
The Bonnes Amies Club will postpone their 2020 Southern Traditions Luncheon. The original date was set for April 25.  The new date is October 31, 2020.
Tri-County Technical College will be closed from March 16 through March 31. The College is determining whether courses may be delivered in an online format after Spring Break ends.
The Journal will be limiting access to the office, however business can still be conducted by mail, phone, fax or email. News items may be emailed to, faxed to (864) 847-9879 or called in to (864) 847-7361. Payments can be made by phone. Other correspondence may be placed in our drop box at the front door.
The President’s 15 Days To Slow The Spread Coronavirus Guidelines and SCDHEC Conoravirus guidelines are posted on The Journal website.
Additional information related to the coronavirus pandemic on the local level will be posted online at as it becomes available.