Henry McMaster Bows To Pressure, Reopens South Carolina’s Beaches

Governor also plans to allow select retail establishments to reopen …

South Carolina’s beaches are back in business – or at least they will be on Monday when governor Henry McMaster issues new guidance related to the lockdown orders his administration has previously issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation.

McMaster’s plans were detailed to reporter Andy Shain of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier by his chief of staff Trey Walker, who many believe is the brains behind the state’s response to the virus.

Or maybe not …

Previously, Walker contacted Shain in the aftermath of a bumbling press conference by McMaster to explain why the governor was declining to issue a stay-at-home order for South Carolina – arguing the administration lacked the authority to do so.

“He has done the things he has legal authority to do,” Walker told Shain on April 4, 2020. “Yes, he could go out and say, ‘I order you by criminal penalty to stay home.’ But the problem is he does not believe that any governor or any public official has the constitutional authority to force someone to stay inside their home against their will.” 

Two days later, though (on April 6, 2020), McMaster issued precisely such an order …

As for the order to open the beaches, though, additional confirmation of the administration’s intentions was provided on Saturday to state senator Stephen Goldfinch – who promptly informed The (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) Sun News that beaches would be open “by the end of next week.”

(Click to view)

(Via: Getty Images)

“I don’t have all the information yet,” Goldfinch told the paper. “I’m not sure the governor’s office does either from what I can tell from talking with them.”

McMaster was pressed on this issue just yesterday by state representative Alan Clemmons – who argued access should be restored for coastal residents looking to clear their heads, exercise or feed their families via crabbing or fishing.

“Restoring public access to our beaches for the use of coastal residents, with prudent temporary measures that ensure social distancing, would be an excellent next step in empowering coastal citizens to rebuild our communities that have been devastated by (coronavirus) closures,” Clemmons wrote in a letter to McMaster obtained by this news outlet.

In addition to obliging that request, McMaster is also preparing to open access to rivers and lakes in the state – while permitting select retail establishments to reopen.

Do we support his decision? Yes.

As we noted yesterday, a battle has been raging across the nation between those who want to maintain draconian lockdown orders (the #StayAtHome crowd) and those who want these orders lifted (#ReopenSC or #ReopenUSA). Most of those who support extending these orders are fearful that their relaxation – or rescinding – will lead to a spike in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Those who want the orders relaxed or rescinded point to deteriorating economic situation (and growing concerns over the extent to which draconian lockdowns across the nation have failed to materially impact the trajectory of the virus).

UPDATE: The latest coronavirus statistics for South Carolina …


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