Because South Carolina is one of just a handful of states in the U.S. without statewide stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus outbreak, residents still technically have the right to roam freely to the few places that are open like Lowe’s — even though experts and leaders have warned against it.
Across the state of South Carolina, people have been posting photos of crowded Lowe’s parking lots and stores looking like Black Friday.
Lowe’s and other hardware stores have made it past two rounds of “non-essential” business shutdowns ordered by Gov. Henry McMaster in the last week, so stores across the state remain open.
Lowe’s is currently advertising a big spring sale with major discounts for the next two weeks, the Post and Courier reported. Though Lowe’s recently implemented a few new measures safety measures starting Thursday, photos from the weekend still show packed parking lots and people not practicing social distancing at Lowe’s stores across South Carolina.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the upcoming days are crucial for practicing social distancing.
“The next two weeks are extraordinarily important,” Birx said. “This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe, and that means everybody doing the six feet distancing, washing your hands.”
McMaster has said over and over he has a lot of faith in the people of South Carolina — that he believes they will do what they’re told in order to keep each other safe.
These photos and tweets (most of them directed at McMaster himself) show the opposite.
Lowe’s parking lot in Simpsonville.. this is getting out of hand for people aren’t listening pic.twitter.com/VIPf7axB0T— shandra morton (@Snubbie76) March 30, 2020
Bluffton (Shown Above):
Governor, this is the parking lot at @lowes on two notch this morning. I urge you to shut everything down you can. Hundreds of people here at thia store on a Sunday morning because its one of the few places open. pic.twitter.com/kVW4Z2NSE4— M L G (@mlancegrantham) April 5, 2020
There are a lot of written testimonies of this too.
People in South Carolina have also tweeted at Lowe’s and Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison. On Thursday, the company says it developed an app to monitor foot traffic in each store and limit a certain number of people from entering.
While McMaster has urged police departments to disperse groups of three or more people across the state, there is little evidence that plan is working (as shown in photos).
According to realtime data provided by Unacast — a company that purchases data from cell phone companies — South Carolinians are not reducing their travel like they should. Unacast gave SC a “D” for its 25 – 40 percent decrease in average mobility and a less than 55 percent decrease in in “non-essential” trips between Feb. 24 and April 1.
We know that this virus is spread by close contact. These people in large groups are endangering themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. The more large crowds we see, the more cases will increase, the more families will suffer.
South Carolina is the only state east of the Mississippi without a statewide stay-at-home order.
South Carolina now has 2,049 total COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths, officials said Sunday.
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