Business restrictions are set to expand at 5 p.m. in South Carolina

Two Upstate lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Henry McMaster asking him to issue a "stay at home" order Tuesday. (Source: Live 5)
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Monday, April 6, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Beginning at 5 p.m., a new executive order will go into effect for the state of South Carolina, closing more non-essential businesses.

Gov. Henry McMaster passed an executive order earlier last week closing several non-essential businesses. This new executive order is adding even more to the list of companies that will need to temporarily close as state leaders work to combat the spread of COVID-19.

These additional non-essential businesses include: clothing and shoe stores, furniture, jewelry and department stores, florists, sporting goods, book and music stores.

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McMaster made the announcement during a press conference Friday afternoon, when he also implemented another executive order said to be effective immediately. Friday, the state suspended all short-term rentals, like hotels and resorts, to people coming from states that have been identified as “hot spots” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This does not apply to military, medical personnel, first responders or truck drivers.

There are also more efforts to protect our front line health care workers and first responders.

At Friday’s press conference, state epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, said, “We are working with our emergency responders on an electronic system that will allow them to determine if they are responding to a house where there has been a recent COVID-19 patient. This will give our first responders additional information to protect themselves appropriately, and we have provided a third round of PPE shipments to the counties from the strategic national stockpile.”

Bell also says nearly every day, health officials are learning of a new case of coronavirus from an unknown source in South Carolina. The state epidemiologist says data shows social distancing and staying home is working and ultimately saving lives.

During this same press conference, McMaster responded to growing criticism for not issuing a statewide stay-at-home order.

Right now, South Carolina is one of less than 10 states across the country with no stay-at-home order in place, as we begin what’s expected to be one of the most challenging weeks of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

The governor says everyone is strongly encouraged to stay home -- with or without a mandate in place.

“Every state is different. They have different economies. They have different resources. They have different medical facilities,” McMaster said. “We are taking a deliberate approach to be as aggressive as we possibly can at the right time, and we’re following the data and the science to do that.”

The governor pointed to Georgia and New York, saying those are much larger states, and therefore will have a different approach to combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Right now, there is a stay-at-home order in place for the city of Columbia. Richland County is considering a similar measure.

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