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SC Gov. Lifts Lockdown, Opens Outdoor Restaurant Dining In COVID-19 Pandemic




South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order Friday lifting his previously imposed “home or work” mandate and allowing restaurants to reopen outdoor dining services starting next week as coronavirus cases appear to have somewhat stabilized.

McMaster said the order allows restaurants that have been forced to shutter their dining services since March 17 the opportunity to open outdoor seating on Monday, May 4.

The South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association worked with McMaster to establish new guidelines for restaurants that will reopen outdoor dining on Monday.

To open, restaurants must:

  • space tables at least 8 feet from each other
  • limit tables to 8 or fewer people
  • maintain strict social distancing orders
  • sanitize tables, chairs, and seats for every customer

A full list of guidelines can be found here.

The “home or work” order will no longer be in effect beginning Monday (May 5, 2020) McMaster said on Friday.

McMaster also removed previous orders on short-term rentals that had banned people from COVID-19 hotspots (including the New York tri-state area). Visitors from those areas no longer have to self- quarantine for the next two weeks, McMaster said Friday.

The governor said certain non-essential businesses will be forced to stay closed – including entertainment venues, recreational facilities and close contact service providers.

The decision to reopen outdoor dining comes days after industry officials recommended that the state allow for outdoor dining starting May 4, Columbia television station WIS-TV 10 reported.

As of Friday, South Carolina had more than 6,200 COVID-19 cases and 256 deaths according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). The state had tested nearly 60,000 people for COVID-19 in total.

Dr. Linda Bell of SCDHEC said state health officials are aggressively working to improve testing and contact tracing of cases as the state reopens for business.

Here’s a look at the daily deaths and cases reported since March 6:

Richland County, South Carolina, home of the capital, has remained the epicenter with the most cases for weeks now. As of Thursday, Richland County had 799 cases in total.

According to SCDHEC, approximately 76 percent of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.

Last week, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster cancelled his previous order that closed public access points to beaches across the state in the COVID-19 crisis.

The order gave the power back to local governments to decide when they will open up public access to beaches. 

Municipalities across the state from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head Island have handled this differently. Here’s our list of all the S.C. beaches that are opening and COVID-19 laws to know.

This story will be updated.



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