COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina's 'home or work' order is now in effect.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued the mandatory order Monday with it taking effect Tuesday at 5 p.m. The order institutes restrictions similar to the 'stay at home' order seen in other states such as North Carolina.
All South Carolina residents are ordered to stay home, unless traveling to work, essential shopping (such as groceries), or essential errands (such as seeking medical attention.)
Tuesday afternoon there were 2,417 cases of COVID-19 in the state with 51 reported deaths.
"People should stay at home," McMaster said during a news conference Monday.
McMaster said he did that because people are not complying enough with previous requests. "We've asked, we've urged, we've suggested, but the last week or so has shown it is not enough."
Here are some of the key provisions of the order, which puts in criminal penalties for non-compliance:
- Everyone should stay home unless working, visiting family, or getting necessary goods or service
- Mandates that retail stores limit customers to no more than 5 customers for every 1,000 square feet, or 20 percent capacity, whichever is less, and increasing social distancing
- No new businesses closed, beyond the executive order that went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday
- Violations will be a misdemeanor with 30 days in jail or a $100 fine.
Neighboring North Carolina and Georgia already have 'stay home' orders.
"It is time according to the science, the data, and the facts," he said. "Too many people are on the roads, the water, in the stores, and are not going along with our requests."
He said in some cases, there were actual areas that saw an increase in road traffic.
McMaster and Dr. Linda Bell, the state's infectious disease expert, said they are expecting a surge in cases over the next few weeks.
The order is an expansion of actions McMaster previously has taken, including closing non-essential businesses, closing public beaches and boat landings, and hours before this announcement, asking DHEC, the state’s health agency, to make publicly available coronavirus infections by zipcode. That data will also include estimates of people who may be sick and not know it.
Another of his orders was already set to go into effect at 5 p.m. Monday. The order expands the previously announced closing of non-essential businesses. The revised list includes furniture stores, department stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, jewelry stores, florists, sporting goods stores, book an music stores, luggage stores, and home furnishing stores.
That list excludes hardware stores and home improvement stores.
Last Friday, he also stopped rentals at hotels and similar facilities for people coming into the state from coronvirus "hotspots." That excluded medical, military, shipping, and first responders.
He's also closed public beaches and public boat ramps statewide, and told police they can break up groups of more than three people who are getting together. He also ordered all restaurants to go to drive thru and takeout only, and told most state workers to work from home. He requested that most business move to telecommuting.
But McMaster had so far resisted issuing a stay-at-home order as many other states have. Multiple politicians, including mayors and state legislators, had asked McMaster to reconsider his stance.