South Carolina governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order on Tuesday closing dine-in services at restaurants and bars across South Carolina as the coronavirus threat grew across the country and in the Palmetto State.
McMaster also prohibited all organized events of 50 or more people to be held at any state, county, or publicly owned facility.
It is recommended that restaurants enhance their carry-out services, McMaster said. The ban on dine-in services begins tomorrow – March 18, 2020.
McMaster also ordered that the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) extend state tax deadlines until June 1.
On Tuesday, McMaster also took action to help hospitals dealing with the anticipated overload of COVID-19 patients. He required the National Guard to begin planning with hospitals to build mobile facilities.
As a part of his executive order, McMaster also allowed hospitals to use medical and nursing school students as COVID-19 cases increase.
He requested that South Carolina medical and surgical centers stop all elective and non-threatening surgical and medical procedures to free up medical equipment and staff.
McMaster asked – but did not order – for South Carolina insurance companies to pay the cost of COVID-19 patients’ doctors visits.
On Tuesday, the state reported its largest increase yet with 13 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 47 across 13 counties.
“We are currently only seeing ongoing transmission in one county, Kershaw County,” Dr. Linda Bell of SCHEC said.
Also on Tuesday, South Carolina’s only PGA Tour tournament – the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island – was canceled.
This story will be updated.