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South Carolina: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

SOUTH CAROLINA

February 22, 2021:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2021-10 on February 21, 2021, effective immediately. This Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days (until March 8) and extends Executive Order 2020-73 for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

February 8, 2021:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2021-08 on February 6, 2021, effective immediately. This Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days (until February 21) and extends Executive Order 2020-73 for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

January 25, 2021:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2021–07 on January 22. Effective immediately until February 6, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order No. 2020–73 (Modifying Amending Emergency Measures) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

January 14, 2021:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2021-03 on January 7. Effective immediately until January 22, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order No. 2020-73 (Modifying Amending Emergency Measures) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

What follows is South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. South Carolina is administering the Moderna vaccine. The full plan can be found at this link. The plan rolls out in phases as follows:

  1. Phase 1A (began Jan. 13 & Currently Ongoing) – The following individuals are able to receive the vaccine now: Healthcare Workers (including, but not limited to, home health and hospice workers, dentists and dental hygienists/assistances, pharmacists, etc.); LTCF residents and staff; admitted hospital patients age 65 and up; and all South Carolina residents age 70 and up (regardless of underlying health conditions).
  2. Phase 1B (Late Winter 2021) – Frontline essential workers (including, but not limited to, firefighters, law enforcement, corrections officers, food and agriculture workers, USPS workers, grocery store workers, teachers, etc.) will be able to receive the vaccine at this time.
  3. Phase 1C (Early Spring 2021) – South Carolina residents between the ages of 16-64 who have underlying health conditions will be able to receive the vaccine at this time.
  4. Phase 2 (Late Spring – Fall 2021) – All people who wish to be vaccinated will be able to at this time.

*All time estimates of when each phase will begin are subject to change.

January 4, 2021:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-77 on December 23, 2020. Effective immediately until January 7, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order No. 2020-73 (Modifying Amending Emergency Measures) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

December 9, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-75 on December 8, 2020. Effective immediately until December 23, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order No. 2020-73 (Modifying Amending Emergency Measures) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

November 30, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-73 on November 25, 2020 which modifies, consolidates and continues the previous Emergency Measure executive order as follows:

  • Face coverings are required in state government buildings and facilities unless if the person: is a child under the age of two; is attempting to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired; has a health condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering; is actively engaged in eating or drinking; is engaged in strenuous exercise; is operating a vehicle alone or with members of their same household; is voting or assisting with administration of an election; is removing the face covering to identify themselves; is incarcerated in a correctional institution or short-term detention facility; or if wearing the face covering would create a health or safety risk for them.
  • Several rules were issued for restaurants. Restaurants: shall take reasonable steps to incorporate and comply with all state, federal and CDC promulgated industry guidance to limit exposure to and prevent spread of COVID-19; shall require all employees, customers, patrons, suppliers, and other visitors to wear face coverings unless actively engaged in eating or drinking; shall not permit the sale or consumption of alcohol between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.; shall space tables at least six feet apart; shall not allow more than 8 patrons to sit at one table (exclusive of family units or members of the same household); shall adopt and enforce a process to ensure patrons maintain a minimum of six feet of separation from other parties while seated; shall not allow patrons to stand/congregate in any bar area; shall post signage at each public entrance informing others that entry is prohibited for anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days; should encourage their employees to stay home if they are feeling sick; should remove common-use condiments, such as salt and pepper; should utilize disposable paper menus if possible; shall provide a cleaning station or alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all entry points; and shall discontinue self-service buffets.
  • Several rules were issued for gatherings: the total number of people present at a gathering shall not exceed 50% of the location’s occupancy limit, or 250 people, whichever is less; everyone at a gathering shall wear a face covering; alcohol is not allowed to be sold or consumed at any gathering between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.; and the organizer/owner/host of any gathering shall take reasonable steps to incorporate, implement, comply with, and adhere to any applicable sanitation, “social distancing,” and hygiene guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health official. Any organizer/owner/host of a gathering may seek clarification regarding the application of this Executive Order to any particular gathering by contacting the Department of Commerce.

This Executive Order shall remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency.

November 24, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-72 on November 23, 2020. Effective immediately until December 8, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order 2020-63 (Amending & Consolidating Emergency Measures) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

November 11, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-70 on November 8, 2020. Effective immediately until November 23, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order 2020-63 (Amending & Consolidating Emergency Measures) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

October 26, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-67 on October 24, 2020. Effective immediately until November 10, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order 2020-63 (Amending & Consolidating Emergency Measures) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

October 19, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-65 on October 9, 2020. Effective immediately until October 24, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order 2020-63 (Amending & Consolidating Emergency Measures) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

October 6, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-63 on October 2 that amended and consolidated emergency measures in the state of South Carolina by replacing the emergency measures found in Executive Order 2020-50 with the following:

  • Face coverings are required in state government buildings and facilities unless if the person: is a child under the age of two; is attempting to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired; has a health condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering; is actively engaged in eating or drinking; is engaged in strenuous exercise; is operating a vehicle alone or with members of their same household; is voting or assisting with administration of an election; is removing the face covering to identify themselves; is incarcerated in a correctional institution or short-term detention facility; or if wearing the face covering would create a health or safety risk for them.
  • Several rules were issued for restaurants. Restaurants: shall take reasonable steps to incorporate and comply with all state, federal and CDC promulgated industry guidance to limit exposure to and prevent spread of COVID-19; shall require all employees, customers, patrons, suppliers, and other visitors to wear face coverings unless actively engaged in eating or drinking; shall not permit the sale or consumption of alcohol between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.; shall space tables at least six feet apart; shall not allow more than 8 patrons to sit at one table (exclusive of family units or members of the same household); shall adopt and enforce a process to ensure patrons maintain a minimum of six feet of separation from other parties while seated; shall not allow patrons to stand/congregate in any bar area; shall post signage at each public entrance informing others that entry is prohibited for anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days; should encourage their employees to stay home if they are feeling sick; should remove common-use condiments, such as salt and pepper; should utilize disposable paper menus if possible; shall provide a cleaning station or alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all entry points; and shall discontinue self-service buffets.
  • Several rules were issued for gatherings: the total number of people present at a gathering shall not exceed 50% of the location’s occupancy limit, or 250 people, whichever is less; everyone at a gathering shall wear a face covering; alcohol is not allowed to be sold or consumed at any gathering between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.; and the organizer/owner/host of any gathering shall take reasonable steps to incorporate, implement, comply with, and adhere to any applicable sanitation, “social distancing,” and hygiene guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health official. Any organizer/owner/host of a gathering may seek clarification regarding the application of this Executive Order to any particular gathering by contacting the Department of Commerce.

This Executive Order shall remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency.

September 29, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-62 on September 24, 2020. Effective immediately until October 9, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order 2020-50 (Initiating Additional Emergency Measures & Consolidating Previous Orders) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

September 14, 2020:

The Governor issued Executive Order 2020-59 on September 9, 2020. Effective immediately until September 24, this Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and declares that Executive Order 2020-50 (Initiating Additional Emergency Measures & Consolidating Previous Orders) is extended for the duration of the State of Emergency. First responders and 911 operators are still allowed to ask individuals requesting assistance whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. All transportation waivers for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles are still in effect.

August 11, 2020:

The Governor of South Carolina issued Executive Order 2020-53 effective August 10 through August 26. This order extends the State of Emergency and portions of Executive Order 2020-48, including limitations on nursing home and correctional facilities, wavier of registration requirements for private security companies, and prohibitions against price gouging. Further, this Executive Order continues the first responder protections from Executive Order 2020-44, namely, all emergency dispatchers are authorized to ask callers whether anyone in the caller’s house has tested positive for COVID-19. All transportation waivers created under Executive Order 2020-40 (e.g., for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles) remain in effect until September 10 or the duration of the State of Emergency, whichever is less. Violation of the Executive Order can result in a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment for 30 days.

August 5, 2020:

(City of Columbia): The City of Columbia passed an emergency ordinance to extend the city’s mask mandate to October 4, 2020. The ordinance requires that masks be worn in public within the City of Columbia.

August 4, 2020:

The Governor issued Executive Order 2020-50 on August 2, 2020. This order is effective immediately and remains in effect throughout the duration of the State of Emergency. Additionally, this order supersedes, rescinds, and replaces the following Executive Orders:

  • 2020-09 (Closing Schools, Other Provisions in Response to COVID-19)
  • 2020-10 (Directing Additional Emergency Measures Due to COVID-19)
  • 2020-11 (Additional Emergency Measures & Regulatory Relief Regarding COVID-19)
  • 2020-12 (Regulatory Flexibility to Facilitate “Social Distancing”)
  • 2020-13 (Authorizing Law Enforcement to Preserve Public Health)
  • 2020-16 (Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters Due to COVID-19 Pandemic)
  • 2020-18 (Closure of Additional Non-Essential Businesses)
  • 2020-21 (Home or Work Order)
  • 2020-22 (Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers)
  • 2020-25 (Modification of Emergency Restrictions for Public Waters & Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims & Benefits)
  • 2020-28 (Modification of Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters & Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures)
  • 2020-30 (Rescinding Self-Quarantine, Lodging, & Travel Restrictions for Individuals Entering S.C. from High-Risk Areas)
  • 2020-31 (Modification of Home or Work Order & Authorization of Outdoor Dining Services)
  • 2020-33 (Rescheduling Elections Postponed by Executive Order 2020-09 & 2020-29)
  • 2020-34 (Authorization of Limited Indoor Dining Services & Rescission of Boating Restrictions)
  • 2020-36 (Additional Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures
  • 2020-37 (Additional Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures)
  • 2020-45: (Prohibiting alcohol sales between 11:00 PM and 10:00 AM)

The above orders are replaced by the following provisions:

  • Section 2: Effective August 3rd at 5:00 pm face coverings are required in all state government offices, buildings, and facilities. The following individuals are excluded from the face covering mandate: Children under two years old; persons communicating with the hearing impaired; persons with physical, mental, or behavioral health conditions or disabilities; persons who are actively eating/drinking or obtaining a service that requires access to the face; persons engaging in strenuous exercise; persons operating a vehicle alone; persons voting or assisting with the administration of an election; persons needing to remove covering for security screening or surveillance; incarcerated persons; and persons for whom wearing a face covering would be an occupational hazard. Buildings or structures occupied or controlled by agencies, departments, officials, or employees of the legislative or Judicial Branches are excused from this mandate and will be governed by their respective regulations.
  • Section 3: All restaurants shall adhere to the following restrictions of operation:
    • All restaurants that provide indoor and outdoor dining must comply with sanitation guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health officials.
    • Restaurants must require all employees, customers, patrons, suppliers, vendors, and other visitors to wear face coverings, subject only to Section 2’s exceptions.
    • No alcohol sales between 11:00 pm and 10:00 am the following day.
    • Occupancy is limited to fifty percent (50%) of restaurant occupancy limits.
    • Indoor and outdoor tables must be at least six (6) feet apart.
    • No more than eight (8) customers per table, unless all persons are of the same family unit or household.
    • Restaurants must adopt and enforce a process to ensure customers are able to maintain a minimum of six (6) feet of separation while waiting to be seated.
    • Customers may not stand or congregate in any bar area. Customers seated on bar stools must be six (6) feet apart.
    • Must post signage prohibiting entry to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the proceeding fourteen (14) days.
    • Must implement a COVID-19 screening process, which includes a temperature reading, for all employees prior to their shift.
    • Must use approved sanitizing solutions to clean tables, chairs, and check presenters after each table turn or seating.
    • Must provide a cleaning station or alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all entry points.
    • Must discontinue self-service buffets or food stations to prevent customers and patrons from reusing service utensils; however, employees may be permitted to dispense food via cafeteria-style buffet service.
    • Must discontinue services that allow customers and patrons to fill or refill their own beverage cups.
    • Restaurants shall sanitize all doorknobs and other shared or frequently touched surfaces as much as possible between newly arriving parties with approved sanitizing solutions
    • The order recommends:
      • Restaurants immediately excuse any employees indicating symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the preceding fourteen (14) days
      • Restaurants encourage/ require employees who are sick, who have symptoms of COVID-19, who have tested positive for COVID-19, or been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to stay at home.
      • Restaurants should remove common-use condiments, such as salt, pepper, and ketchup, from tables. These items may be available on request but should be sanitized between users.
      • Restaurants place utensils only after a customer or patron is seated and, if possible, offer disposable single-use utensils.
      • Restaurants should utilize disposable paper menus, if possible, or sanitize menus after each use
      • Restaurants should only use kiosks or touch screens for customers and patrons if they can be sanitized between uses and should encourage touchless payment operations like credit cards with no signature required.
    • Restaurants are authorized and encouraged to offer food or beverages for off-premises consumption.
    • Law enforcement officials are authorized and encouraged to enforce the provisions of this Section 3.
  • Section 4: Gatherings shall be limited to fifty percent (50%) of a location’s occupancy capacity or two hundred and fifty (250) persons, whichever is less. All in attendance must wear face coverings, except those excused in Section 2. The sale and consumption of beer, wine, or alcohol shall be prohibited at any gathering between the hours of 11:00pm and 10:00am the following day. All organizers, operators, owners, or hosts of, or other parties responsible for, a gathering shall take reasonable steps to incorporate and applicable sanitation, “social distancing,” and hygiene guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or Federal public health officials.
    • Anyone wishing to obtain clarification on the applicability of this order to a particular gathering, or request and exception, may submit a form available at www.sccommerce.com, or submit questions to the Department of Commerce by email at covid19sc@sccommerce.com or by telephone at 803-734-2873.
  • Section 5: No licensed premises may sell beer, wine, or alcoholic liquor for on-premise consumption between 11:00pm and 10:00am.
  • Section 7: Authorizes DHEC to suspend certain hospital regulations in order to effectively respond to the current State of Emergency.
  • Section 8: Reinstates the provisions of Executive Order 2020-12 allowing curbside and delivery sales of alcohol in a closed container.
  • Section 9: Prohibits non-essential employees of the State of Carolina from reporting to work physically or in-person.
  • Section 10: Mirrors the language of Executive Order 2020-28 granting municipalities, agencies, etc. authority to make public beach regulations and closures.
  • Section 11: Mirrors the language of Executive Order 2020-25 extending emergency measures for unemployment claims and benefits.
  • Section 12: Resembles the language of Executive Order 2020-22 and further authorizes COVID-19 Support Payments by employers for the duration of the State of Emergency.

July 28, 2020:

The Governor issued Executive Order 2020-48. Effective on July 26th until August 10th. This Executive Order continues the State of Emergency for 15 days and continues the first responder protections from Executive Order 2020-44, namely, all emergency dispatchers are authorized to ask callers whether anyone in the caller’s house has tested positive for COVID-19. All transportation waivers created under Executive Order 2020-40 (e.g., for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles) are still in effect. Violation of the Executive Order can result in a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment for 30 days. Additionally, this executive order extends the following executive orders:

  • 2020-09 (Closing Schools, Other Provisions in Response to COVID-19)
  • 2020-10 (Directing Additional Emergency Measures Due to COVID-19)
  • 2020-11 (Additional Emergency Measures & Regulatory Relief Regarding COVID-19)
  • 2020-12 (Regulatory Flexibility to Facilitate “Social Distancing”)
  • 2020-13 (Authorizing Law Enforcement to Preserve Public Health)
  • 2020-16 (Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters Due to COVID-19 Pandemic)
  • 2020-18 (Closure of Additional Non-Essential Businesses)
  • 2020-21 (Home or Work Order)
  • 2020-22 (Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers)
  • 2020-25 (Modification of Emergency Restrictions for Public Waters & Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims & Benefits)
  • 2020-28 (Modification of Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters & Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures)
  • 2020-30 (Rescinding Self-Quarantine, Lodging, & Travel Restrictions for Individuals Entering S.C. from High-Risk Areas)
  • 2020-31 (Modification of Home or Work Order & Authorization of Outdoor Dining Services)
  • 2020-33 (Rescheduling Elections Postponed by Executive Order 2020-09 & 2020-29)
  • 2020-34 (Authorization of Limited Indoor Dining Services & Rescission of Boating Restrictions)
  • 2020-36 (Additional Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures
  • 2020-37 (Additional Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures)
  • 2020-45: (Prohibiting alcohol sales between 11:00 PM and 10:00 AM)

July 23, 2020:

(City of Charleston): The City of Charleston passed an Emergency Ordinance on Face Coverings and Capacity and Noise in Bars and Restaurants on July 14, 2020. Effective July 15, 2020 at 9:00 p.m., the ordinance requires face coverings to be worn by persons interacting in public and limits the capacity of persons in bars and prohibits bars and restaurants from playing amplified music after 9:00 p.m. The ordinance excuses the wearing of face coverings in several situations including when actively smoking, drinking, or eating; when customers are seated at least six feet from others in an establishment; for children under 10 years of age; and when not feasible such as the receipt of dental services. This ordinance is scheduled to expire September 13, 2020.

(City of Columbia): The City of Columbia passed an Emergency Ordinance requiring that face coverings or masks be worn in public effective June 26, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. The ordinance requires that all persons entering a commercial establishment in the City must wear a face covering while inside. Additionally, all restaurant, retail, salon, grocery store, and pharmacy employees must wear a face covering while having face to face interaction with the public. This ordinance is scheduled to expire August 26, 2020.

(City of North Charleston): The City of North Charleston passed an Emergency Proclamation on July 2, 2020. Effective July 3, 2020 the ordinance requires that all persons must wear a mask in indoor businesses whenever maintaining six (6) feet of social distancing is not possible. This ordinance will remain in effect until the Governor or Mayor rescind the general declaration of emergency related to COVID-19.

July 13, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued the following Executive Orders:

  • Executive Order 20-45: effective 11:00 PM July 11th for the duration of the State of Emergency. This executive order prohibits the sale or consumption of beer, wine, or alcoholic liquor on any licensed premises between the hours of 11:00 PM and 10:00 AM the following business day. Noncompliance with this order can result in the suspension of applicable licenses and permits.
  • Executive Order 20-44: effective July 11th until July 26th. This executive order continues the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days. All emergency dispatchers are authorized to ask callers whether anyone in the caller’s house has tested positive for COVID-19. All transportation waivers created under Executive Order 20-40 (e.g., for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles) are still in effect. Violation of the Executive Order can result in a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment for 30 days. Additionally, this executive order extends the following executive orders:
    • 2020-09 (Closing Schools, Other Provisions in Response to COVID-19)
    • 2020-10 (Directing Additional Emergency Measures Due to COVID-19)
    • 2020-11 (Additional Emergency Measures & Regulatory Relief Regarding COVID-19)
    • 2020-12 (Regulatory Flexibility to Facilitate “Social Distancing”)
    • 2020-13 (Authorizing Law Enforcement to Preserve Public Health)
    • 2020-16 (Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters Due to COVID-19 Pandemic)
    • 2020-18 (Closure of Additional Non-Essential Businesses)
    • 2020-21 (Home or Work Order)
    • 2020-22 (Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers)
    • 2020-25 (Modification of Emergency Restrictions for Public Waters & Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims & Benefits)
    • 2020-28 (Modification of Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters & Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures)
    • 2020-30 (Rescinding Self-Quarantine, Lodging, & Travel Restrictions for Individuals Entering S.C. from High-Risk Areas)
    • 2020-31 (Modification of Home or Work Order & Authorization of Outdoor Dining Services)
    • 2020-33 (Rescheduling Elections Postponed by Executive Order 2020-09 & 2020-29)
    • 2020-34 (Authorization of Limited Indoor Dining Services & Rescission of Boating Restrictions)
    • 2020-36 (Additional Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures
    • 2020-37 (Additional Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures)

The County of Greenwood passed Ordinance 20-013, effective 8:00 AM July 13th until September 8th. The ordinance requires individuals and employees of businesses to wear face coverings in public places. Exceptions include places where social distancing can be observed, people whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing face coverings, children under 10 and those who cannot wear a face covering due to medical conditions or without the help of others, among others. Individuals in violation of the ordinance can be subject to a fine of not more than $100. Additionally, businesses in violation of the ordinance may have their licenses revoked and be subject to injunction/abatement.

July 8, 2020:

Several cities enacted orders requiring individuals and employees of businesses to wear face coverings in public places:

  • Cayce City Council Ordinance 2020-19: 6:00 AM July 10th until September 6th.
  • Town of Irmo Emergency Ordinance 20-15: Effective July 7th until September 6th.
  • West Columbia City Council Emergency Ordinance: Effective 6:00 AM July 10th until September 6th. Businesses are required to post conspicuous signage informing patrons of this Order.

Each ordinance specifies certain exemptions for those required to wear a face covering, including:

  • Individuals whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering;
  • Children under 10;
  • Persons unable to safely wear a face covering due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the face covering without the assistance of others;
  • Places where social distancing of at least six feet is possible and observed;
  • In private, individual offices;
  • In places where wearing a face covering if not feasible, such as receipt of dental services of swimming; and
  • Persons exclusively in the presence of family or members of the same household.

Each order also specifies either monetary or civil penalties, or both, for individuals, business owners and employees who violate the order, including generally:

  • Individuals in violation of their city’s order may be subject to a fine of between $25 and $100; and
  • Businesses in violation of their city’s order may also have their licenses revoked and/or be subject to abatement.

Please see the specific order for more information on your specific city.

July 6, 2020:

Several cities and counties enacted orders requiring individuals and employees of businesses to wear masks in public places:

  • Richland County Ordinance 20-HR: Effective July 6th until September 1st. Religious establishments are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Forest Acres Ordinance 2020-14: Effective July 6th until September 1st or issuance of another ordinance, whichever is earlier. Businesses are required to post conspicuous signage informing patrons of this Ordinance. Children under 10 are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Lexington Ordinance 2020-21: Effective July 2nd until September 1st. Businesses are required to post conspicuous signage informing patrons of this Ordinance and the operator of the business is required to ensure that all patrons entering the building are in compliance. Children under 10 and individuals whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a mask are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Camden Ordinance 2020-017: Effective 6:00 AM July 3rd until September 2nd. Children under 8 are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Newberry Ordinance 2020-1010: Effective July 1st until July 31st. Businesses are required to post conspicuous signage informing patrons of this Ordinance.
  • Town of North Ordinance 2020-02: Effective 9:00 AM July 3rd until September 2nd. Children under 10 and individuals whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a mask are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Orangeburg Emergency Ordinance: Effective July 3rd until September 2nd. Children under 10 and individuals whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a mask are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Sumter Ordinance 2687: Effective 6:00 AM July 3rd until September August 31st. Children under 8 and individuals whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a mask are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Rock Hill Emergency Ordinance: Effective 12:01 AM July 10th until September 1st. Children under 10 and individuals whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a mask are exempted from this Ordinance.

Each order specifies certain exemptions for those required to wear a mask, including generally:

  • Persons unable to safely wear a mask due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the mask without the assistance of others;
  • Places where social distancing of at least six feet is possible and observed;
  • In private, individual offices;
  • In places where wearing a mask if not feasible, such as receipt of dental services of swimming; and
  • Persons exclusively in the presence of family or members of the same household.

Each order also specifies either monetary or civil penalties, or both, for individuals, business owners and employees who violate the order, including generally:

  • Individuals in violation of their city’s order may be subject to a fine of between $25 and $100;
  • Businesses in violation of their city’s order may be subject to fines between $25 and $100; and
  • Businesses in violation of their city’s order may also have their licenses revoked and/or be subject to abatement.

July 1, 2020:

A number of cities enacted orders requiring individuals and employees of businesses to wear face coverings in public places:

  • North Myrtle Beach Order 20-17: Effective 12:00 PM July 2nd until August 31st or issuance of another ordinance, whichever is earlier. Businesses are required to post conspicuous signage informing patrons of this Order.
  • Isle of Palms Ordinance 2020-10: Effective 12:00 PM July 1st until August 26th. Businesses are responsible for employee compliance and are not responsible for patron compliance. Individuals whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a mask are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Mount Pleasant Ordinance 20037: Effective July 1st until August 29th or issuance of another ordinance, whichever is earlier. Businesses are required to post conspicuous signage informing patrons of this Ordinance. Individuals whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a mask are exempted from this Ordinance.
  • Summerville Emergency Ordinance: Effective 12:01 AM July 1st until July 9th unless renewed or terminated earlier by issuance of another ordinance.
  • Folly Beach Emergency Ordinance 11-20: Effective June 30th until August 25th or issuance of another ordinance, whichever is earlier. Businesses are required to post conspicuous signage informing patrons of this Ordinance.

Each order specifies certain exemptions for those required to wear a mask, including generally:

  • Persons unable to safely wear a mask due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the mask without the assistance of others;
  • Places where social distancing of at least six feet is possible and observed;
  • In private, individual offices;
  • In places where wearing a mask if not feasible, such as receipt of dental services of swimming; and
  • Persons exclusively in the presence of family or members of the same household.

Each order also specifies either monetary or civil penalties, or both, for individuals, business owners and employees who violate the order, including generally:

  • Individuals in violation of their city’s order may be subject to a fine of between $25 and $100;
  • Businesses in violation of their city’s order may be subject to fines between $25 and $500; and
  • Businesses in violation of their city’s order may also have their licenses revoked and/or be subject to abatement.

June 30, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 20-42 on Friday, June 26 that declares a new state of emergency in South Carolina effective for 15 days. Visits to nursing homes are to be restricted as the Department of Health and Environmental Control deems necessary, with special guidelines being developed to allow immediate family members visitation. Visitation processes and procedures at correctional institutions are to be suspended as appropriate. All emergency dispatchers are authorized to ask callers whether anyone in the caller’s house has tested positive for COVID-19. All transportation waivers created under Executive Order 20-40 (e.g., for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles) are still in effect. Violation of the Executive Order can result in a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment for 30 days.

June 29, 2020:

(Hilton Head): The Hilton Head Island Town Council passed an ordinance on Monday, June 29. Effective at 11:59 PM on June 30, any person entering into a commercial business establishment within the limits of the town must wear a mask. Additionally, all commercial business establishments must require employees to wear masks when employees are in any area where the general public is allowed or when the employee must be in close proximity to one another.

Commercial business establishments are required to post conspicuous signage at all entrances to the establishment informing its patrons of the mask requirement.

Any person that violates the ordinance is subject to a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 or 30 days in jail. Any commercial business subject to the ordinance that violates the order three or more times is declared a nuisance under the ordinance, subject to abatement under the state’s nuisance laws. In addition to abatement, the town may also seek revocation of the business license of any business not in compliance with the ordinance.

The following are exempt from the requirements of the ordinance:

  • (Any person unable to safely wear a facemask due to age, an underlying health condition, or who is unable to don or remove a mask without the assistance of others;
  • Persons eating or consuming food and beverages; and
  • Persons receiving medical care or treatment.

The ordinance will expire on August 29 or the end of the state of emergency in Hilton Head Island, whichever is earlier.

(Spartanburg): The Spartanburg city council passed an ordinance on Friday, June 26. Effective at 12:01 PM on Monday, June 29, the ordinance requires any person entering into a grocery store or pharmacy within city limits to wear a mask. Additionally, all restaurants, retail stores, salons, barber shops, grocery stores, and pharmacies in the city must require their employees to wear masks when having face to face interactions with the public.

Businesses are not responsible for enforcing the ordinance on its patrons but must post conspicuous signage at all entrances informing its patrons of the mask requirement.

Any patron who fails to comply with the ordinance is subject to a fine of not more than $25. In addition, any owner, manager, or person with authority that fails to require their employees to wear face coverings in compliance with the ordinance can be subject to a fine of not more than $100, with each day of a violation constituting a separate offense. Repeated violations by an owner, manager, or person with similar authority may also result in a suspension or revocation of any occupancy permit or business license, as well as abatement by injunction under the state’s public nuisance laws.

Any person who is unable to safely wear a face covering due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the face covering without the assistance of others is exempt from the ordinance. Additionally, any person whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a mask or any person complying with directions of law enforcement officers is exempt from the ordinance.

The ordinance shall expire on August 26 or issuance of anther ordinance, whichever is earlier.

(Clemson): The Clemson City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday, June 24. Effective on June 25, the ordinance essentially requires all people to wear a face covering when they are (i) in Clemson public places and (ii) any time they are, or may be, in contact with other people who are not that person’s family or household members. A “public place” includes publicly owned property, but also includes business properties to which members of the public and/or customers, clients, or guests are allowed or invited.

Businesses must require their employees to wear facemasks while at work. Parents and guardians are responsible for the safety of their minor children under the age of 12, but anyone over the age of 12 is required to wear a mask. Please refer to the ordinance for a list of certain people wo are not required to wear face coverings

Any patron who fails to comply with the ordinance is subject to a fine of not more than $25. Any business that fails to require their employees to wear face coverings in compliance with the ordinance can be subject to a fine of not more than $100, with each day of a violation constituting a separate offense. Repeated violations by an owner, manager, or person with similar authority may also result in a suspension or revocation of any occupancy permit or business license, as well as abatement by injunction under the state’s public nuisance laws.

The ordinance will expire on August 24 or the issuance of another ordinance, whichever is earlier.

(Beaufort): The Beaufort City Council passed an ordinance on Monday, June 29. Effective on 11:59 p.m. on June 30, the ordinance requires all persons entering any building within city limits that is open to the public to wear a face covering. All restaurants, retail establishments of every description, salons, grocery stores, and pharmacies within city limits must require their employees to wear masks in all places where the general public is allowed or when employees must be in close proximity to one another. This also applies to all persons providing or utilizing public or commercial transportation, as well as all businesses or employees while interacting with people in outdoor spaces.

Businesses are not responsible for enforcing the ordinance on its patrons but must post conspicuous signage at all entrances informing its patrons of the mask requirement.

Any person who fails to comply with the ordinance, after being first duly warned, is subject to a fine of not more than $50. Additionally, repeated violations by a business may result in a suspension or revocation of any occupancy permit or business license, as well as abatement by injunction under the state’s public nuisance laws.

Any person who is unable to safely wear a mask due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove a mask without the assistance of others is exempt from the ordinance. Additionally, any person traveling in a personal vehicle, alone or in the presence of only household members in an enclosed space, and people actively eating or drinking are also exempt from the ordinance.

The ordinance shall expire on July 27 or the end of the state of emergency in Beaufort, whichever is earlier.

June 23, 2020:

The Greenville City Council passed an emergency ordinance on Monday, June 22. Effective June 23 at noon, the emergency ordinance requires patrons to wear masks inside grocery stores and pharmacies within city limits. Additionally, employees of restaurants, retail shops, barber shops and salons within city limits must also wear masks when having face-to-face interactions with the public.

Although businesses are not responsible for enforcing the ordinance, it must post conspicuous signage informing patrons of the requirement.

Any patrons not in compliance with the ordinance are subject to a fine of not more than $25. In addition, any owner, manager, or person with authority that fails to require their employees to wear face coverings in compliance with the ordinance can be subject to a fine of not more than $100, with each day of a violation constituting a separate offense. Repeated violations by an owner, manager, or person with similar authority may also result in a suspension or revocation of any occupancy permit or business license, as well as abatement by injunction under the state’s public nuisance laws.

Any person who is unable to safely wear a face covering due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the face covering without the assistance of others is exempt from the ordinance.

This emergency ordinance shall expire on August 22, 2020.

June 22, 2020:

The South Carolina Education Task Force presented its final recommendations for returning to school.

The task force requested Health and safety grants for schools a as well as the purchase of PPE. The task force also recommended that each district create a reopening task force team of its own to develop its own procedures to open its schools in the fall. In addition, the plan includes 4 phases that take into account summer planning and preparation, pre-opening schools, and reopening of schools and continuity of their operation.

There are 3 possible scheduling models being considered to be used by schools in conjunction with the health and safety guidelines in their communities:

  • Traditional Model: allows students and faculty to return to schools in a fashion similar to “traditional” schooling
  • Hybrid Model: allows only for a portion of the staff and students to return to schools with the remaining staff and students utilizing distance learning
    • The task force indicates this is the most likely scenario if there is a medium spread of COVID-19
  • Full distance learning model: no students or staff physically able to return and all learning would be remote

June 15, 2020:

Governor McMasters issued Executive Order 2020-40 on June 11, 2020 that continues the state of emergency in South Carolina for another fifteen days. All South Carolina public schools shall remain closed, but they are encouraged to continue to distance learning. All emergency dispatchers are authorized to ask callers whether anyone in the caller’s house has tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, all transportation waivers that were created in response to COVID-19 (e.g., for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles) are still in effect.

Finally, gatherings of more than 50 people are allowed – this was done by amending Executive Order 2020-10 (as extended by Executive Order 2020-38) to delete Section 5. Section 5 prohibited all events or public gatherings of fifty or more people in a single area (indoor or outdoor).

May 28, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-38 on May 27, 2020. It directs the continued closure of all public schools, as well charter schools and residential programs at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, and the School for the Deaf and Blind. It also continues to suspend certain rules and regulations for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles. The order is to be in effect for 15 days.

May 26, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order No. 2020-37 on May 21, 2020 that authorizers the following businesses, venues, facilities, services and activities – which were previously deemed “non-essential”– to reopen effective May 22, 2020:

  • Entertainment venues and facilities as follows
    • Arcades
    • Tourist attractions (including museums, aquariums, and planetariums)
    • Indoor children’s play areas
    • Bingo halls
    • Venues operated by social clubs
  • Recreational and athletic facilities and activities as follows:
    • Sports that involve interaction in close proximity to and within less than six (6) feet of another person
    • Activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
    • Activities on commercial or public playground equipment

Any business that elects to reopen to non-employees should consider and incorporate any applicable sanitation guidance promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health officials. This action is made possible by amending Executive Order Nos. 2020-28, 2020-31, and 2020-36.

May 21, 2020:

Governor McMaster announced in a press release that beginning Friday, May 22, “attraction facilities” will be permitted to open throughout South Carolina. Examples of attraction facilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Zoos
  • Museums
  • Aquariums
  • Planetariums
  • Historic buildings
  • Waterparks
  • Amusement parks
  • Go-kart tracks
  • Bingo facilities
  • Mini golf facilities.

Additionally, youth and adult sports leagues will be allowed to begin practicing on May 30, with competitive play resuming on June 15.

May 18, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-36 on May 15, 2020 that authorizes the following businesses, venues, facilities, services, and activities – which were previously deemed “non-essential” – to re-open effective Monday, May 18, 2020:

  1. Recreational and athletic facilities and activities as follows:
    • Fitness and exercise centers and commercial gyms
    • Spas and public or commercial swimming pools
    • Group exercise facilities, to include yoga, barre, and spin studios or facilities.
  2. Close-contact service providers as follows:
    • Barber shops
    • Hair salons
    • Waxing salons
    • Threading salons
    • Nail salons and spas
    • Body-art facilities and tattoo services
    • Tanning salons
    • Massage-therapy establishments and massage services

Any business that elects to re-open to non-employees for use by the public “should consider and incorporate” applicable sanitation guidance. This authorization was made by modifying and amending provisions of Executive Order Nos. 2020-18, 2020-21, 2020-28, 2020-31, and 2020-35.

May 13, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-35 on May 12.

  • It officially closes all South Carolina schools to remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.
  • It directs the South Carolina Department of Education to count any and all days of “distance learning” (where instruction was provided in good faith pursuant to that school district’s distance learning plan) as credit towards their 180 instructional day requirement.
  • The South Carolina Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety must waive/suspend application and enforcement of the requisite state and federal rules and regulations pertaining to registration, permitting, length, width, weight, load and hours of service for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles. This section is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for 30 days.
  • This Order shall remain in effect for 15 days.

May 10, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-34 on May 8, 2020. Effective Monday, May 11, 2020, it authorizes restaurants to provide on-premises customer dining services in addition to previously authorized off-premises consumption and outdoor customer dining services. Restaurants that choose to provide indoor customer dining services “should” consider and incorporate applicable sanitation guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, and other state/federal public health officials. The Governor made this possible by modifying Section 4 of Executive Order 2020-10.

The Executive Order also rescinds the restrictions on beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island, and the requirement that vessels remain underway at all times laid out in Section 1(C) of Executive Order 2020-16 (as amended by Section 1(A) of Executive Order 2020-25). Individuals are still “urged” to limit social interaction, practice social distancing, and take precautions to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.

May 4, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued two executive orders over the weekend.

Executive Order 2020-30 was issued on May 1, 2020 which rescinded the following executive orders, effective immediately:

  • Executive Order 2020-14 (as modified, amended, and extended by Executive Order 2020-19 and 2020-29) which required certain individuals who entered the State of South Carolina from an area with substantial community spread of COVID-19 to isolate or self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.
  • Executive Order 2020-19 (as extended by Executive Order 2020-29) which prohibited individuals, entities or establishments engaged in short-term rentals, vacation rentals, or other lodging accommodations in exchange for considerations from making or accepting new reservations or bookings.

Executive Order 2020-31 was issued on May 3, 2020, and did the following:

  • Modification of Home or Work Orders. Effective 12:01 a.m., Section 1(B) of Executive Order 2020-21 (which required residents and visitors of South Carolina to practice social distancing) is deleted in its entirety and is replaced with language that urges all residents and visitors of South Carolina to practice social distancing. It also encourages residents to limit their movement outside of their Residence, except for engaging in Essential Business, Essential Activities, or Critical Infrastructure Operations.
  • Authorizing Outdoor Dining Services. Effective Monday, May 4, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., Section 4 of Executive Order 2020-10 (which ordered Restaurants to suspend on-premises or dine-in consumption) is amended to authorize Restaurants to provide outdoor customer dining services. Any restaurant providing outdoor customer dining services should follow CDC and DHEC sanitation guidelines.

April 28, 2020:

Governor McMaster signed Executive Order 2020-29 on April 27, 2020. The Executive Order went into effect immediately, and expires fifteen days later on May 12. It does several things:

  • The South Carolina State of Emergency is extended for fifteen days.
  • The following Executive Orders shall remain in full force and effect for the duration of the State of Emergency: 2020-09 (Closing Schools, Other Provisions in Response to COVID-19), 2020-10 (Directing Additional Emergency Measures Due to COVID-19), 2020-11 (Additional Emergency Measures & Regulatory Relief Regarding COVID-19), 2020-12 (Regulatory Flexibility to Facilitate “Social Distancing”), 2020-13 (Authorizing Law Enforcement to Preserve Public Health), 2020-14 (Self-Quarantine for Individuals from High-Risk Areas), 2020-16 (Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters Due to COVID-19 Pandemic), 2020-18 (Closure of Additional Non-Essential Businesses), 2020-19 (Lodging & Travel Restrictions for Individuals from High-Risk Areas), 2020-21 (Home or Work Order), 2020-22 (Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers), 2020-25 (Modification of Emergency Restrictions for Public Waters & Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims & Benefits), and 2020-28 (Modification of Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters & Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures).
  • All public schools, state-supported colleges, universities, and technical colleges will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
  • All elections scheduled to be held in South Carolina (special, county, municipal, etc.) on or before May 12, 2020 shall be postponed and rescheduled.

April 27, 2020:

Governor McMasters issued an Order declaring a state of emergency through South Carolina. The governor can only declare a state of emergency for up to 15 days, and the prior order, issued on April 12 expired on April 27. All other existing orders remain in effect with the new state of emergency.

April 21, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-28 on April 20, 2020 that did two things:

First, it modified the emergency restrictions for public beaches and waters.

  • Effective Tuesday, April 21 at 12:00 p.m., Section 1(B) of Executive Order 2020-16 (as extended by Executive Order 2020-23) is modified and amended to rescind the order and directive that any and all public beach access points shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes during the State of Emergency.
  • Effective Tuesday, April 21 at 12:00 p.m., Section 1(C) of Executive Order 2020-16 (as extended by Executive Order 2020-23) is modified and amended to rescind the order and directive that any and all public piers, docks, or wharfs providing public access to the public waters shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency.

Second, it incrementally modifies the Non-Essential Business Closure executive orders to begin the process of safely and strategically reopening businesses and facilitating economic recovery and revitalization.

  • Effective Monday, April 20, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., the following businesses previously deemed “non-essential” and directed to close in Executive Order 2020-18 and 2020-21 (as extended by Executive Order 2020-23) are now authorized to reopen to non-employees:
  • “Retail Stores” as follows: Furniture and home-furnishing stores, clothing, shoe and clothing-accessory stores, jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores, department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores, sporting goods stores, book, craft, and music stores, flea markets, florists and flower stores.
  • Any business allowed to reopen must follow the following three emergency rules and restrictions:
  • The business’ emergency maximum occupancy rate shall not exceed 5 customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space, or 20% of the occupancy limit determined by the fire marshal, whichever is less;
  • The business shall not knowingly allow customers, patrons, or other guests to congregate within 6 feet of each other; and
  • The business shall implement all reasonable steps to comply with any applicable sanitation guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state/federal public health officials.

Nothing in this Executive Order prohibits retail stores from fulfilling online or telephone orders or providing alternate means of purchasing or delivering products or services.

April 17, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-25 on April 16, 2020.

First, it modifies Section 1 of Executive Order 2020-16 (“Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches and Waters”), as extended by Executive Order 2020-23, to allow the managing or operating authority of any public boat ramp or boat landing that was closed to reopen, in whole or in part, effective April 17, 2020. This modification is to allow people to launch and retrieve their boats on public waters to facilitate authorized and permissible outdoor exercise and recreational activities in accordance with Executive Order 2020-21. Public piers, docks, and wharfs providing public access to public waters shall remain closed. Vessels must remain underway at all times unless exigent circumstances exist. Anchoring to fish is allowed, but rafting is prohibited under all circumstances. Social distancing requirements must still be maintained (6 feet distance).

Second, it directs the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) to waive, on a temporary basis and consistent with the aforementioned Department of Labor guidance, application of the one-week waiting period for individuals who are otherwise eligible to receive unemployment benefits, pursuant to section 41-35-110(4) of the South Carolina Code of Laws.

April 13, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-23 that does several things:

  • Prior emergency measures taken in South Carolina to date are to be continued and further implemented. All available resources of state government are to continue to be utilized.
  • State correctional institutional and local detention facilities are to suspend visitation.
  • The prohibitions against price gouging are to remain in effect during the State of Emergency.
  • South Carolina schools – public schools and charter schools, are to remain closed to students and non-essential employees for the duration of the State of Emergency.
  • State-supported colleges, universities, and technical colleges are to complete the spring 2020 academic semester by delivering virtual and remote learning. They are to only house out-of-state or displaced students, and they are to restrict on-campus services and activities to emergency or other critical personnel designated as essential.
  • All 911 operators or other emergency dispatchers may ask an individual placing a call for service whether such individual or any member of their household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms consistent with the same.
  • The South Carolina Department of Transportation and is to waive or suspend application and enforcement of the requisite state and federal rules and regulations pertaining to registration, permitting, length, width, weight, load, and hours of service for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles operating in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s April 8, 2020 Extension and Expansion of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Under 49 C.F.R. § 390.25, or any future amendments or supplements thereto.
  • Law enforcement officers are authorized to do whatever may be deemed necessary to maintain peace and good order during the State of Emergency.

Any willful failure or refusal to comply with this order will be considered a misdemeanor.

April 8, 2020:

Governor McMaster issued an Executive Order on April 7, 2020 that authorized COVID-19 “Support Payments” by employers effective immediately. The Executive Order allows any employer who desires to offset the financial impacts of its furloughs by making voluntary COVID-19-related support payments to the furloughed individual.

The Executive Order defines “COVID-19 Support Payments” as a voluntary payment, or series of payments, made by an employer to an employee in response to furloughing the employee, and it for services rendered by the employee in the past, which the employee is not obligated to repay, which is provided without obligation for the employee to perform. COVID-19 Support Payments shall be classified as a form of severance pay, thus, not as wages. Because of this structure, the payments will not reduce the unemployment benefits that an otherwise eligible individual would be entitled to receive.

Employers interested in making COVID-19 Support Payments must submit a plan to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce that (i) details the anticipated length of the furlough, (ii) state the amount of the COVID-19 Support Payments, and (iii) include an attestation that the employer is not making the COVID-19 Support Payments as a form of remuneration for the employees’ performance of services during the furlough and that the employees are not required to return or repay the COVID-19 Support Payments.

April 7, 2020:

On April 6, 2020, Governor McMaster signed a Stay-At-Home Executive Order that, effective April 7, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., requires any and all residents and visitors of South Carolina to limit social interactions, practice “social distancing” in accordance with CDC guidance, and take every possible precaution to avoid potential exposure to, and to slow the spread of, COVID-19. Individuals shall limit their movements outside of their home, place of residence, or current place of abode, except as allowed by the Order, for purposes of engaging in Essential Businesses, Essential Activities, or Critical Infrastructure Operations. Essential Activities include activities necessary for health and safety, obtaining supplies, outdoor exercise, and religious worship.

“Essential Businesses” do not include the businesses, venues, facilities, services, and activities listed in the March 31, 2020 Executive Order, including “entertainment venues and facilities,” “recreational and athletic facilities and activities,” “close-contact service providers,” and “retail stores.”

“Critical Infrastructure Operations” include:

  • Individuals operating commercial vehicles transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels, livestock, poultry, feed, crops, individuals employed by airlines, and individuals otherwise engaged in commercial transportation activities.
  • Individuals performing or assisting with military, healthcare, public safety, or emergency response operations.

All “Essential Businesses” that are allowed to continue operations must, effective April 7, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.:

  • Limit the number of customers allowed to enter and simultaneously occupy the premises so as not to exceed five customers per 1,000 sq. ft. of retail space, or 20% of the occupancy limit, whichever is less,
  • Follow social distancing practices, and
  • Implement all reasonable steps to comply with any applicable sanitation guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, and other state or federal public officials.

April 5, 2020:

Although South Carolina remains one of the few remaining states to not issue a state-wide stay at home order, the governor issued two new executive orders on April 3, 2020.

The first April 3 Executive Order goes into effect Monday, April 6, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and expands the list of “non-essential” businesses that must close. The original list, set out in a March 31 Executive Order, ordered “entertainment venues and facilities,” “recreational and athletic facilities and activities,” and “close-contact service providers” to close effective April 1, 2020. The first April 3 Executive Order closes the following additional “non-essential” businesses to non-employees:

  • Retail Stores (furniture and home-furnishings stores; clothing, shore, and clothing-accessory stores; jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores; department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores; sporting goods stores; book, craft, and music stores; flea markets; and florists and flower stores.)

The first April 3 Executive Order does not prohibit the continued operation of retail stores in order to fulfill online or telephone orders, including curbside purchase, pickup, or deliver, and home or off-site delivery, as long as such measures can be implemented while maintaining effective social distancing. Anyone willfully failing or refusing to comply with this order shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

The second April 3 Executive Order went into effect Friday, April 3, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and prohibits any individual, entity, or establishment engaged in the provision of short-term rentals, vacation rentals, or other lodging accommodations or operations in exchange for consideration (collectively “Lodging”) in the state of South Carolina from making or accepting new reservations or bookings from or for any individual that resides in or travels from any county, state, municipality, or other geographic area that is subject to or identified in a CDC notice as a location with “extensive community transmission” of COVID-19.

“Lodging” shall include the following:

  • A “lodging establishment” as defined by section 45-2-20(2) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, to mean “a hotel, motel, villa, condominium, inn, tourist court, tourist camp, campground, bed and breakfast, residence, or any place in which rooms, lodging, or sleeping accommodations are furnished to transient for a consideration.”
  • A “vacation rental property or other short-term rental property” that involves the rental of any house, condominium, room, or other dwelling unit for a period of less than ninety (90) days if such property is advertised, represented, or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to, or available for rental to, guests.

The second April 3 executive order does not prohibit anyone from providing “Lodging” to the following:

  • Individuals operating commercial vehicles transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medical supplies and equipment, fuels, petroleum products, livestock, poultry, feed, crops, individuals employed by airlines, and individuals otherwise engaged in commercial transportation activities.
  • Individuals performing or assisting with military, healthcare, public safety, or emergency response operations.

Anyone willfully failing or refusing to comply with this order shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

April 2, 2020:

Governor McMaster signed a Non-Essential Business Closure Executive Order on March 31, 2020 that goes into effect Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 5pm. The Executive Order closes the following “non-essential” businesses to non-employees:

  • Entertainment Venues and Facilities (night clubs, bowling alleys, arcades, concert venues, theatres, auditoriums, performing arts centers, tourist attractions, museums, aquariums, planetariums, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas (with the exception of licensed childcare facilities), adult entertainment venues, bingo halls, and venues operated by social clubs).
  • Recreational and Athletic Facilities and Activities (fitness and exercise centers, commercial gyms, spas, public or commercial swimming pools, group exercise facilities including yoga, barre and spin studios or facilities, spectator sports, sports that involve interaction in close proximity to and within less than six feet of another person, activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment, and activities on commercial or public playground equipment).
  • Close-Contact Service Providers (barber-shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons and spas, body-art facilities, tattoo services, tanning salons, massage-therapy establishments and massage services).

Governor McMaster signed an Executive Order on March 30, 2020 that, effective immediately, closed all public beaches, public beach access points, adjacent and/or associated public parking lots, public piers, public docks, public wharfs, public boat ramps, public boat landings and other public facilities to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency. Additionally, the beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island is prohibited during the State of Emergency. Vessels must remain underway at all times. Anchoring to fish is allowed, but rafting is prohibited under all circumstances. This restriction does not apply to individuals who possess a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit and seek to utilize public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities.

March 30, 2020:

South Governor McMaster signed an Executive Order on March 28, 2020 that addresses the following four (4) areas, effective immediately:

Emergency Measures:

  • visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities is restricted, with the exception of end-of-life situations;
  • visitation processes and procedures at state correctional institutions and local detention facilities;
  • specified units of the South Carolina National Guard are placed on State Active Duty, and are under the command of the Adjutant General. The Adjutant General is authorized to give orders as he deems necessary and appropriate. The Adjutant General is also ordered to coordinate with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division to take necessary and prudent actions to assist the people of South Carolina;
  • prohibitions against price gouging are in effect;

School Closures:

  • all South Carolina public schools and charter schools are now closed to students and non-essential employees through the month of April (extending the original school closure date from March 31, 2020). School district officials are authorized to make any necessary and appropriate decision/arrangement to facilitate the distribution of food and nutritional services;
  • all state-supported colleges, universities and technical colleges are required to complete the spring 2020 academic semester virtually and remotely. Said colleges, universities and technical colleges may still house out-of-state or displaces students. On-campus services and activities are restricted to only emergency personnel designated as “essential” or whose presence is deemed “necessary” by college or university officials

Protecting First Responders:

  • any and all 911 operator or emergency dispatcher may ask any individual placing a call for services whether such individual or any member of their household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms consistent with the same.

Transportation Waivers:

  • Governor McMaster originally issued two Executive Orders, one on March 11, 2020 and another on March 13, 2020, instructing the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety to waive or suspend application and enforcement of certain state and federal rules and regulations pertaining to registration, permitting, length, width, weight, load, and hours of services for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles who are responding to COVID-19 or otherwise providing direct assistance to supplemental state and local efforts in South Carolina and North Carolina, including the transporting of essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels and petroleum products, livestock, poultry, feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultureal products ready to be harvested (including timber). This order did not allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
  • The March 28 Executive Order extended the transportation waiver, above, to all commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles operating in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Expanded Emergency Declaration (relating to COVID-19).

A person who fails and/or refuses to comply with these orders is guilty of a misdemeanor.

In addition to the above four areas, South Carolina Governor McMaster signed an Executive Order on March 27, 2020 requiring any individual who enters South Carolina from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the City of New Orleans, Louisiana to isolate or self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days, effective immediately. This order does not apply to individuals employed by airlines and individuals performing or assisting with military, healthcare, or emergency response operations. Anyone required by this order to isolate or self-quarantine shall be responsible for any and all costs associated with such isolation or self-quarantine. People who fail to comply with the order shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(City of Columbia): The City of Columbia’s Emergency Stay Home Order went into effect 12:01 am, Sunday, March 29, 2020. It calls for all individuals to stay in their homes and not travel through or congregate in the streets, sidewalks, waterways, public spaces and/or businesses in the City of Columbia, except for the purposes of working at or conducting business with businesses that provide “Essential Services.” Social gatherings of 10 or more people, for any reason other than working at or receiving Essential Services, is prohibited. Bars and restaurants are prohibited from allowing consumption of food or beverages in or on their premises. However, pickup, take-out and other deliver services for consumption off premises are allowed for restaurants and bars. Any person found guilty of violating any provision of the Order shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

March 27, 2020:

(City of Columbia): The City of Columbia announced an Emergency Stay Home Order effective 12:01 am, Sunday, March 29, 2020 calling all individuals to stay in their homes and not travel through or congregate in the streets, sidewalks, waterways, public spaces and/or businesses in the City of Columbia, except for the purposes of working at or conducting business with businesses that provide “Essential Services.” Essential Services include: health care operations, essential infrastructure, manufacturing, grocery and other essential retail operations, service operations (including sanitation, shipping, childcare, and funeral homes), media, financial institutions, construction, defense, and real estate brokerage.

Social gatherings of 10 or more people, for any reason other than working at or receiving Essential Services, are prohibited. Bars and restaurants are prohibited from allowing consumption of food or beverages in or on their premises. However, pickup, take out and other deliver services for consumption off premises are allowed for restaurants and bars.

March 26, 2020:

(City of Charleston): The City of Charleston announced an Emergency Ordinance on Stay At Home effective 12:01 am, Thursday, March 26, 2020 calling all individuals to stay in their homes and not travel through or congregate in the streets, sidewalks, waterways, public spaces and/or businesses in the City of Charleston, except for the purposes of working at or conducting business with businesses that provide “Essential Services.” Social gatherings of 10 or more people, for any reason other than working at or receiving Essential Services, is prohibited. Bars and restaurants are prohibited from allowing consumption of food or beverages in or on their premises. However, pickup, take out and other deliver services for consumption off premises are allowed for restaurants and bars.

March 25, 2020:

On Monday, March 23, Governor Henry McMaster issued an Executive Order directing all South Carolina law enforcement officials to prohibit or disperse any congregation or gathering of people in groups of three or more if authorities believe it poses a threat to public health. The Executive Order does not apply to persons inside a home or working at a business. Gov. McMaster reiterated that he has not, however, issued a shelter-in-place or lockdown order.

Gov. McMaster had previously ordered all bars and restaurants to end dine-in service and issued an Executive Order that permitted beer and wine curbside sales (although alcohol cannot be delivered).

All South Carolinian schools are closed through March 31, 2020, and all elections have been postponed until after May 1, 2020.

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