COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster is lifting the “home or work” order for South Carolina. The governor said it will end this Monday, May 4 and will be voluntary after that point.
The “home or work” order was originally issued on April 6 and stipulated that people stay home unless they are going to work, are visiting family, exercising or getting essential goods or services like grocery or pharmacy items.
In addition, the governor announced that on May 4 restaurants throughout the state may provide outdoor dining service in addition to existing take out, curbside and delivery services.
Restaurants will be following guidelines that have been issued by the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association which involves a number of guidelines including the number of seats, spaces between seats and signs alerting customers to the precautions.
McMaster has also removed the restrictions for short term rentals on people coming from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and New Orleans. The governor had imposed a quarantine on those affected travelers after the CDC had categorized those areas as hot spots and issued a travel advisory which has since been rescinded.
The governor said he announced the lifting of these restrictions based on data from DHEC and the compliance of South Carolinians for orders he had previously issued. He said he hopes to make more decisions on the state soon.
Restrictions regarding close contact businesses like gyms and hair salons are still in place. McMaster said the state is currently gathering information and data to make the decision on reopening those businesses.
“I’d like to be able to make [those decisions] today and say the virus was gone,” McMaster said."But unfortunately, we can’t say that. We are constantly trying to determine the best and the earliest moment to remove the remaining restrictions."
Dr. Linda Bell with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control also spoke during the press conference and announced 160 new COVID-19 cases and 12 additional deaths.
She also touched upon the restrictions imposed on the state due to the virus.
“And I know that many are waiting for a time that we can fully loosen all restrictions, and so am I,” Bell said. “And there’s really no set time that I can give, a date, or a magic number at which time, we can give that fully loosens restrictions.”
DHEC said public health data will help drive those decisions.
McMaster’s Friday announcements follows a week of meetings with AccelerateSC, a group developing a revitalization plan which includes healthcare professionals, representatives from large and small businesses, local government officials and education professionals.
The governor also issued a proclamation calling for statewide Day of Prayer this Sunday, May 3.
“I think and I know all those agree it is time that we pause,” he said."We thank God for where we are, for our lives in South Carolina. We want to recognize and console those who have lost loved ones."
The governor said it will also be a time to thank first responders including doctors, healthcare workers, law enforcement, firemen, who have continued to work through the pandemic.
You can view the presser below or click here. This story will be updated throughout the day.
Before the governor’s Friday’s announcement on allowing outdoor dining, Lowcountry restaurants were anticipating the announcement and were preparing to reopen.
Employees at the Taco Boy restaurant on Huger Street started getting ready on Friday.
Partner and Director of Operations April Bennett says the restaurant hopes to open on Tuesday for Cinco de Mayo. She says the plan is to remove some tables on the patio to allow social distancing.
Leon’s Oyster Shop on King Street also offers outdoor patio dining. Director of Operations Noah Singerman says they haven’t decided if they will open the patio when allowed to do so.
“Lots of stipulations in terms of what the CDC is recommending, the federal government, what the rest of the restaurants in Charleston are doing, our staffing situation,” Singerman said.
Charleston Livability Director Dan Riccio said the requirements and how the patio dining rules will be enforced are still being worked out.
Riccio said he envisions the rules will be similar to the ones placed on retail businesses when they were allowed to reopen.