Photo by Boris Dunand on Unsplash

Restaurant inspections statewide have been completed virtually since March 2020 due to the pandemic, but that could change soon, The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Wednesday.

The state’s health department said it was “preparing for a phased-in return to in-person inspections,” adding that virtual appointments would continue to be its primary method for performing the inspections while the S.C. case count remains high. Earlier this month, The Post and Courier reported that the city of Charleston had cited 21 restaurants for mask violations in January.

DHEC reported 1,516 cases of COVID-19 and 39 deaths on Wednesday. Out of 18,983 tests reported, 12.5% were positive.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the state has seen 416,073 cases of COVID-19 and 6,885 deaths related to the virus. A total of 5,334,105 tests have been administered.