COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster made several major announcements Friday on the state’s coronavirus outbreak response.
The governor said starting Monday, May 4, his ‘home or work’ order will no longer be mandatory.
“We have become highly educated and informed on what we’re dealing with and that is one of the main things and, also, the willingness to comply of the people in our state," McMaster said, "those are the things that have allowed us to move back into where we wanna be in our economy.”
Monday will also mark the day restaurants around the state can reopen for outdoor dining, McMaster said.
Right now, they are only permitted to serve through takeout or delivery.
Social distancing must be observed by restaurants who offer outdoor dining. Guidelines for restaurants can be found here.
Based on federal guidelines, McMaster said he was also removing his executive orders that restricted short-term rentals in the state. That includes an order requiring people traveling from hot spots to self-quarantine for two weeks.
These actions do not mean the virus is no longer a threat, however.
“This virus will continue to spread and still presents a very real and serious threat to our people, but I believe in South Carolinians and their ability to act wisely and safely,” McMaster said in a statement. “We are a strong, resilient, and compassionate people who care for one another and will act in the best interest of our state as a whole.”
The governor also issued a proclamation calling for a statewide day of prayer Sunday, May 3.
During several meetings this week of his accelerateSC task force, McMaster talked about wanting to reopen the economy as soon as possible.
Restaurant industry leaders suggested outdoor dining in the state reopen Monday, May 4. Leaders also suggested indoor dining could reopen across the state by May 18, or earlier.
McMaster said Friday he is still working with leaders to determine when indoor dining will resume.
“We have a lot of people saying we’re going too fast. Other people say were going to slow. I think we are going just right," McMaster said.
Other orders concerning close-contact business closures -- like hair salons and barbershops -- will also be made at a later time.
Friday’s announcements came as health officials announced 160 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the state total to 6,258.
Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), said data show the curve flattening in South Carolina.
While the curve is flattening, Bell said she cannot project when cases may start to go down.
Health officials are still encouraging people to social distance and practice good hygiene when they are in public.
Bell also encouraged those who are more at-risk for developing a serious case of COVID-19 to limit their exposure to other people.
Anyone who feels sick or shows symptoms of the coronavirus should call their doctor and stay home, Bell added.
This story will be updated.