Coronavirus in Clemson, SC: Moratorium committee, consultants forge ahead despite setbacks
This story may be updated as more information becomes available
City provides resources, information
The city's website has been updated to include resources for residents experiencing food instability, lack of access to wifi and healthcare. Find that list here.
While governing boards and commissions will continue to meet as needed, the city is asking residents tune in through their YouTube livestream channel. Residents can submit questions for public comment to city staff.
Playgrounds closed, parks open
The Department of Parks and Recreation announced Friday, March 27 that all city playgrounds are closed until further notice.
All parks remain open.
Voluntary curfew enacted
City of Clemson was placed under voluntary curfew beginning Friday, March 20.
Clemson City Council held an emergency meeting March 19, during which it unanimously voted to place the city under a voluntary curfew beginning the next day. Residents and visitors are asked to observe the curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. with the exception of some necessary workers and anyone in need of immediate medical attention.
Council also voted to defer some required business fees and waive late penalties for residential water, sewer and sanitation bills.
Moratorium committee forges ahead despite COVID-19 setbacks
The moratorium steering committee met for a two-hour meeting with the third-party consultants hired to address the infrastructure, growth and affordability problems plaguing the city.
The consultants were set to touch down in Clemson the week of March 23 for a "kickoff visit," but held the initial meetings with the committee via Zoom, an online meeting app.
So far, there are no changes to the moratorium timeline, with final proposals from the consultants set to go before city council in late June, according to committee chair Bob Brookover.
Consultant Matthew Wetli said the schedule they set for the next three months will "evolve" as the St. Louis, MS-based firm cannot travel to Clemson for the foreseeable future, due to the spread of the coronavirus.
"There’s an awful lot we could do over these next 4 to 6 weeks … regardless of the current situation," Wetli said.
The committee also asked to incorporate policy proposals for city council that would aid in recovery for small businesses, who will take a financial hit since the university has cancelled all events and a dining rooms are closed.
Moving forward, the main problem the consultants will have to address how to engage "hard to reach" – African American neighborhoods, undergraduate Clemson students and international students – communities for public input.
"Figuring out how to do that with technology … is something we’re going to have to think about. This is frankly one of the bigger challenges of doing remote engagement," Wetli said.
The consultants are still planning on visiting Clemson in mid- to late-May to meet with neighborhoods, business owners and other local stakeholders.
Parks and Rec stops programming until further notice
Central and Clemson Recreation Departments have shut down all youth team sports programming until further notice, including practices and games. The city initially planned to resume the spring sports season in April, but delayed all activities indefinitely on March 27.
The Clemson-Central Indoor Recreation Center is closed until Pickens County Schools return to in-person instruction.
Clemson recreation cancelled the Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 16 and the spring break camp scheduled for April 13 to 17.
VisitClemson's annual Spring Breaking Rowing Program has been cancelled because NCAA collegiate sports are suspended indefinitely, according to Chamber of Commerce President Susan Cohen. Cohen said the loss of the multi-week crew training sessions will cost the area roughly $3 million in economic impact.
City of Clemson waives parking fees, postpones events
Monday evening, city council passed an emergency ordinance that allowed the city to rapidly respond to the coronavirus outbreak for at least 61 days. The ordinance suspends regular meetings of the council, but allows for council meetings and votes over phone or electronic communication.
The city is offering three free hours of parking at the downtown Clemson parking garage to encourage residents to support local businesses that may face financial hardship since Clemson University students are off-campus until at least April 5. Free parking downtown is available until April 6.
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All City of Clemson events have been postponed or cancelled and city facilities are not available for public use until further notice.
The city is not taking payments for utilities, permits and court fees in person. They have provided instructions on how to mail in payments or pay online on their website.
Local utility companies are closed to the public but accepting payments online.
The municipal court has adjusted hours for court dates scheduled until at least April 6:
- On March 18, the judge will meet with people outside the court and give continuance letters
- March 23 and April 1 dates are rescheduled and letters have been sent to the addresses on record.
- Jury trials scheduled for weeks of March 23 and April 6 will be rescheduled for June 2020.
Business stay open, offer curbside services
The Clemson-Area Chamber of Commerce has compiled a list of local businesses and whether they're staying open, adjusting hours or closed.
Some restaurants are closed through March 20 since it's spring break for university students. Others are adding curbside pickup and delivery in order to remain open and increase social distancing between staff and customers.
Zaxby's and Chik-Fil-A are offering drive-thru service only. Spill the Beans is offering take-out only.
Police, Central, Pendleton make adjustments
The Clemson Police Department has adopted a number of measures through at least April 1 to prevent the spread of coronavirus:
- Officers will stay six feet from people while interviewing
- Non-emergency reports will be taken by phone at 864-624-2000
- Ride Along, training and community events are suspended
- Records requests can be made by phone at 864-624-2000
Central has cancelled non-essential meetings until further notice. The town asks that residents pay all fees online. The police ask that residents make background checks or file incidents reports with police over by phone at 864-639-4020.
Pendleton Town Hall and other town facilities are closed to the public until further notice. All utility and fees should be paid online. Town parks are closed and all town events are cancelled through April 6, including the Spring Jubilee.
Central-Clemson Library drive-thru open
Beginning March 17, all branches of the Pickens County Library System are closed to the public. But, the Central-Clemson and Easley Libraries are keeping their drive-thrus open:
- Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Sunday: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Members will not incur late fees while operations are suspended. All programs and activities are also suspended until at least March 30.
Zoe covers Clemson for The Greenville News and Independent Mail. Reach her at email@example.com or Twitter @zoenicholson_