Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin spoke live at the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber Breakfast Tuesday.
The meeting was held at the Corley Mill House on Corley Mill Road in Lexington. It was the first post-COVID-19 Chamber Breakfast. Benjamin, who joked about the many themes of protective masks he carries, said there was an option to tele-communicate the meeting, but he chose to speak live.
About 50 people were in attendance. Chamber Executive Director Richard Skipper said the crowd was less than half than normal.
Benjamin said he is an optimist and he expects a recovery from the blow the corona virus lockdown delivered. He also said a task force has been in place during the virus crisis, and there will be more monitoring as the recovery occurs.
“We’re easing back into reopening,” Benjamin said. He also said the City of Columbia has made funds available to small business to help them make it through the COVID crisis.
Columbia has been able to maintain essential services, like garbage pick-up, but many of the city’s employees worked from home. No one’s water has been turned off, Benjamin said, for non-payment during the lockdown.
Benjamin said the corona virus crisis accelerated the use of technology to communicate without contact.
He also said the pandemic will affect the debate regarding universal healthcare and border control and immigration.