City Council approves stay-at-home order in Columbia, SC

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -- The Columbia City Council passed a shelter-in-place ordinance Thursday afternoon during a virtual meeting.

Stay at home orders are being inspired by concerns about coronavirus.

It means all non-essential businesses in Columbia are ordered to close for two weeks, and residents have to stay at home unless they are walking outside, or going to work or shop at an essential business.

The Stay Home Stay Safe ordinance will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, March 29.

It will last for 14 days.

The ordinance includes a list of essential service that will remain open during the 14-day period.

The list does not include gyms and other recreation facilities, barbershops or salons -- which will have to close.

The list does include the following essential services:

• Health care operations
• Law enforcement
• Fire departments
• Emergency management
• Veterinary care
• Emergency dental care
• Medical equipment manufacturers and providers
• Gas stations
• Automotive repair
• Car and other vehicle sales
• Telecommunication
• Airports
• Hotels and motels
• Public utilities
• Bus stations
• Manufacturing and food processing
• Grocery stores
• Pet stores
• Pharmacies
• Convenience stores
• Take-out/delivery food service
• Hardware stores
• Trash and recycling collection and processing
• Laundromats and dry cleaning
• Funeral homes
• Child care services
• Post offices
• Animal shelters
• News media
• Banks and credit unions
• Check cashing services
• Building cleaning and maintenance
• Warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
• Legal services
• Homeless shelters
• Food banks
• Foster care and child protective services
• Construction
• Skilled trades: electricians, plumbers, landscape services, pool maintenance, nurseries, etc...
• Residential and commercial real estate brokers

Some council members debated the length of the list of essential services, saying closing smaller retail shops and services would not be fair to those business owners when larger stores can remain open.

Others argued the order was necessary to close businesses such as salons and gyms, which have remained open to this point.

After some debate, council members moved to add the following services to the essential list:

• Motorcycle repair
• Bicycle repair
• Printing services

The ordinance passed with only one member voting against it.

Mayor Steve Benjamin said the order will not restrict access to churches for essential staff needed to stream worship services.

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