Kevin Armstrong 2

Kevin Armstrong gives Allen MacDonald a haircut on the first day his new shop was open to the public. Photo by Christian Boschult 

Governor Henry McMaster gave an executive order today to shut down non-essential businesses in the state, beginning tomorrow, for 15 days.

“We decided to list only the bare minimum we can restrict … places where we know the virus has a good place to grow but [businesses that] also are not essential,” McMaster said.

The non-essential businesses that are ordered to close include the following:

- entertainment venues such as night clubs, bowling alleys, arcades, concert venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers, tourist attractions, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas (not including daycares)

- adult entertainment venues, bingo halls, venues operated by social clubs, athletic facilities that deal with sports requiring interaction with another closer than six feet or shared equipment

- barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons, spas, body art facilities, tattoo services, tanning salons, massage therapy and massage services.

Business owners who are not sure if their business is affected by this order, they are encouraged to find the essential business clarifcation form on the South Carolina Department of Commerce web site, email covid19sc@sccommerce.com, or call (803) 734-2873.

Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist, said that the desire to obtain details about where infected people are located has become a “disturbing distraction”.

“It suggests there are people who don’t understand the potential threat for everyone,” Dr. Bell said, indicating seeing comments on social media where people think they are safe if no one in their neighborhood is currently infected. “…all of us need to take precautions regardless of where a specific case may be.”

High school seniors

S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman apologized to the Class of 2020.

“Seniors, I am so sorry that you’re missing out on some things we remember as lifetime events, proms and ceremonies, award days and having time with your senior friends,” Spearman said. “You’re going to be very strong and you’ll make it through this …”

She said that a guidance plan for seniors had been announced and given to superintendents, discussing how the state will handle graduations.

“We want to encourage our students that they do need to work hard. They will be graded and we will be putting that together in a semester grade,” Spearman said, noting that seniors need to have their work completed by May 15.

“We will get your grades in Powerschool so …you can graduate and go on with your life …” Spearman said.

Spearman also said the Department of Education’s virtual school will open on April 1 at www.virtualsc.org, where a number of courses will be available for students to take courses that would be popular in these last weeks such as economics.

Classes begin April 6, she said.

It also includes unlimited licensure for “credit recovery” which would help some students needing extra assistance to pass courses needed for graduation.

“Learning is still going on in South Carolina,” Spearman said.

She also noted that the state nutrition employees have fed over 1,200,000 meals during the school closures, and commended the districts for their good work in taking care of the student’s nutritional needs as well as academic ones.

Spearman said that they get asked often about whether schools will close longer than just through April.

"We take this in steps," Spearman said. "I’m praying for a miracle. Maybe a miracle will happen and we will not have to close schools any longer." 

She said they will evaluate things in mid-April and make announcements as needed. 

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