Extra ‘spring cleaning’ forces new COVID-19 measures at convenience centers

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — As more people are out of work, or just working from home, it’s adding to what we’re dumping in the trash, and what we’re getting rid of.

“Everyone is cleaning out the garage,” said York County Public Works Director Eric Rekitt.

The extra cleaning has led to new rules put in place Thursday morning, both to slow the dumping, and protect county workers at convenience centers.

Rekitt said since more people began staying home, trips to the landfill and the county’s 16 convenience centers are up 40%.


Officials placed a traffic counter at the convenience center on Mount Gallant Road last weekend and it counted 3,300 cars in two days.

Beginning Thursday, convenience centers are no longer taking large appliances, batteries, oil, electronics, light bulbs or paint cans --They must go to the landfill. Waits at the landfill can also be long with an hour wait to get in, which is not uncommon.

Rekitt said a critical issue for him is protecting workers, who have a hard time practicing social distancing.

“They’re seeing a lot of the public, and that’s why we’re discouraging people from coming,” he said.

More than a week ago, the county placed cones in the busiest convenience centers, making them one lane only, and posted signs alerting visitors to maintain the standard 6foot distance recommendation to keep from spreading COVID-19.

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Workers were also told not to help people unload items anymore -- to maintain that distance.

The new rules are an additional step due to the large numbers of people now showing up at convenience centers. There are more than 100 vehicles an hour at the busiest ones.

York County Public Works is also telling visitors to limit loads to the equivalent of one pickup truck load per trip and not to tow trailers in behind trucks.

“People should ask themselves, before they come, ‘Do I really need to throw this away right now? or can I wait until this is over,’” Rekitt said.

If you can wait, you should.