Gov. Henry McMaster Lifts “Work-or-Home” Order

Governor Henry McMaster speaking at a press conference.
SC

Governor Henry McMaster has announced that the statewide “Work-or-Home” order will be lifted and returned to voluntary status on Monday, May 4th.

The governor also announced that beginning on May 4th, restaurants throughout South Carolina may provide outdoor customer dining service in addition to existing take out, curbside, and delivery services.

However, several health experts have concerns regarding the governor’s decision. Dr. David Potts, a retired infectious disease specialist who works at AID Upstate, provided his opinion on the decision when interviewed by The Greenville News: “As a medical person, I should think they should stay closed much longer,” he said. “The more people who have contact with each other, the bigger the risk they will get coronavirus.” Additional coverage on the responses by health experts as well as how restaurant owners are reacting to the decision can be found on The Greenville News website.

The governor also announced that he has lifted Executive Order 2020-19 because CDC guidance identifying “hotspots” throughout the country, which constituted the basis upon which short term rental companies were to deny reservations, has since lapsed and was not renewed. The governor has also lifted Executive Order 2020-14, which required individuals entering the state from the same “hotspots” to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Governor McMaster and state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell strongly urged anyone considered to be “at-risk” based on CDC guidance to limit exposure to others and for all South Carolinians to continue prioritizing their travels between home and work, when possible. Anybody who is sick or is showing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately contact a healthcare provider and self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

“Our goal from the onset of this deadly pandemic has been to protect South Carolinians, but as we all know, the state’s economic health is a major component of the state’s public health,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “South Carolinians, now more than ever, should be vigilant in protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their communities by practicing social distancing and continuing to follow the advice and recommendations from our public health experts.”

“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,” the governor continued. “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’s announcement follows a week of meetings of AccelerateSC – a group created by the governor to develop a coordinated economic revitalization plan which includes healthcare professionals, representatives from large and small businesses, local government officials, and education professionals.

Based on advice and recommendations from DHEC and the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, Governor McMaster has established the following guidelines for restaurants to follow if they choose to open for outdoor seating.

Existing approved outdoor seating areas:

  • Tables are to be spaced a minimum of 8 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table);
  • Limit table groups to 8 individuals;
  • Eliminate gatherings in the building when entering or exiting outdoor seating area;
  • Maintain strict social/physical distancing guidelines;
  • Tables, chairs, and seats should be sanitized after every customer

If open areas and/or temporary tents are utilized by existing, permitted restaurants, all sides of the tent must be open and the following conditions are required:

  • Tables are to be spaced a minimum of 8 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table);
  • Table groups are to be limited to 8 individuals;
  • State approved fire extinguisher within 75 feet of tent area;
  • Minimum of 7-foot-6 inch head room (ceiling height)

These guidelines, along with a list of frequently asked questions, can be found here. Additional guidance that restaurants are expected to follow, should they choose to open, have been provided by the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association and can be found here.