Access to South Carolina beaches, waterways to close during pandemic

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order to close all public access points to the state’s beaches, as well as closure of all public boat ramps, landings and other access points on the state's lakes, rivers and waterways.

“As a result of behavior observed this past weekend by the Department of Natural Resources and SLED, it has become necessary to close public access to our state’s beaches, and to close boat ramps and landings on our state’s lakes, rivers and waterways,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “This is unfortunate for those who chose to responsibly follow the instructions of our public health officials, but it is a necessary action to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.”

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The governor’s executive order authorizes and instructs the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, in consultation with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Attorney General’s office, to provide any necessary supplemental guidance.

“This Section does not apply to individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit to the extent such individuals may seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities,” the governor’s order reads.

The order does not impact the rights of private property owners living on beaches, lakes, rivers, or waterways in any way.

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