Beginning Monday, Aug. 3, S.C. Governor Henry McMaster will allow the opening of businesses such as concert and theater venues with some restrictions, as well as mandating restaurant safety procedures.
“You can’t keep businesses closed forever. South Carolina’s business is business. Those closures took place sometime in April and … those businesses have been closed a long time. We know more about the virus than we did then. We know if we follow these rules, people will be safe. Now is the right time,” McMaster said.
The following types of businesses, gatherings and venues are included in this opening: festivals, parades, concerts, theaters, stadiums, arenas, coliseums, auditoriums, amphitheaters, gyms, assemblies, concert halls, dance halls, night clubs, performing arts centers and race tracks.
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Those working in and going to these facilities will be required to wear face masks, practice social distancing, and allow only 50 percent of the legal capacity or 250 people, whichever is less, McMaster said.
The governor said that some exceptions may be granted by the State Department of Commerce only upon a thorough and satisfactory demonstration of the venue’s ability to comply and operate according to federal and state COVID-19 procedures and protocols.
Also effective Monday, South Carolina restaurants will now be required by law to follow the guidelines and recommendations issued by AccelerateSC, and crafted by DHEC and the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
“Everyone is familiar with these. Restaurants have asked us for this help. Some people who have not gotten the message who needs to be reminded,” McMaster said.
Customers and employees in restaurants will be required by law to wear face masks and practice social distancing, as well as only have 50 percent occupancy.
No more than eight people will be allowed at one table unless they are in the same family, and standing or congregating around restaurant bars will be prohibited.
McMaster’s previous order to prohibit consumption or sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars beyond 11 p.m. is still in effect.
The Palmetto Priority project, where restaurants apply for a sticker they can display to let customers know they are following all COVID-19 protocols, has issued 2,554 stickers so far across the state.
Not following the restaurant and venue guidelines will be considered a misdemeanor, punishable by $100 fine or 30 days in jail, McMaster said.
“Our important task is keeping our people safe and healthy. This is a way to have our businesses open and flourish and put our people to work. Be safe, keep distance, wear mask, washing hands. These restrictions are temporary – they are measured and targeted by what we know works,” McMaster said.