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McMaster Expands Non-Essential Business Shutdown In SC, Bans Some Rentals Due To Coronavirus

McMaster said “we are being as aggressive as we can,” fighting the spread of COVID-19.

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On Friday, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster issued an order expanding the list of non-essential business closures to include most retail stores as the coronavirus threat grips the state.

Those stores that will be ordered to shut down by 5 p.m. Monday, McMaster said. Those businesses include most retail-type stores such as clothing, shoes, accessory, sporting goods, music, boat, home furnishing and furniture stores.

Hardware stores, firearm retailers, and home improvement stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot will remain open.

Earlier this week, McMaster ordered that entertainment venues, recreational facilities and close contact service providers to close down for the next 15 days.

On Friday, McMaster also ordered to suspend short-term rentals to persons from coronavirus hotspots identified by the CDC. This bans persons from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut from renting at South Carolina hotels, resorts, and any short-term rental property.

South Carolina is now one of just a 11 states still without government-mandated stay-at-home orders, according to The New York Times.  Alabama issued a statewide order Friday afternoon, making South Carolina the only state in the southeast without an order.

“We want to urge to everyone — stay home,” McMaster said Friday.

McMaster said “we are being as aggressive as we can,” fighting the spread of COVID-19.

“We are doing what we believe to be the most aggressive thing to do to combat this virus,” McMaster said.

Of those 11 states remaining without stay-at-home orders, South Carolina is by far the worst when it comes to testing per capita —at No. 48 in the entire nation, according to data compiled from Buzzfeed News.

“Our state is not like everyone else’s state,” McMaster said when asked why he has not issued a state-wide order. “South Carolina certainly is not New York. “

According to the Buzzfeed’s data, for every 100,000 South Carolina residents, only 143 have been tested for coronavirus as of yesterday. To compare, New York, the epicenter for the virus, has tested 1,207 people for every 100,000 people.

Cases increasing

With 1,700 cases and 34 deaths caused by COVID-19, South Carolina is still at the beginning of the bell curve — with the pandemic projected to peak on April 28, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). An estimated 1,098 people will die from coronavirus in South Carolina by August — and that’s “assuming full social distancing through May 2020.”

Because South Carolina is testing at insufficient and below-average rates compared to other states, it’s highly likely that our coronavirus cases per capita rates are much higher.

We have frequently pointed out the numbers released by SCDHEC do not represent a complete picture of the spread of the virus in the Palmetto State.

Not all data from private labs is included, and SCDHEC has acknowledged that supply shortages have severely limited its testing capabilities. Also, not everyone experiencing potential coronavirus symptoms is getting testing – and beyond that, we keep hearing from more and more South Carolinians who believe they had the virus long before the government began tracking cases.

27 percent of people who tested positive for coronavirus in S.C. have been hospitalized for the illness.

While there is no shelter-in-place order in South Carolina right now, Gov. Henry McMaster has issued the following orders, punishable by law enforcement:

  • Schools closed through at least April 30 (March 15)
  • Restaurants and bars only open for carry-out services (March 17)
  • Illegal for groups of 3 or more gathered in a public place (March 21)
  • Mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors from coronavirus hotspots (March 27)
  • Public access to all beaches and waterways closed (March 30)
  • Non-essential businesses closed (March 31)

According to projections by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), South Carolina will see 8,053 total coronavirus cases by May 2.

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