Governor Henry McMaster announced Friday that he is removing the mandatory home or work order in the state beginning Monday, May 4, as well as removing restrictions on short term rentals, and allowing outdoor dining at restaurants.
The state’s stay at home order originally went into effect on April 6, and McMaster said it will expire at midnight on Monday.
The restrictions on travel have been lifted already, he said, referencing the previous ban on travelers from the hotspots of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the city of New Orleans.
The self-quarantine mandate that came with it is canceled as well.
He also will allow outside dining at restaurants, saying that the establishments will need to follow the guidelines of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (SCRLA) in terms of the number of allowed seats, distances between them, where the menus will go, and more.
“I’m confident that our people will be able to implement those guidelines and have good service outside those restaurants,” McMaster said.
According to the SCRLA, required modifications for outdoor dining include spacing tables a minimum of eight feet apart, limit table groups to eight people, and tables, chairs, and seats should be cleaned and sanitized after every customer.
The governor also proclaimed there would be a statewide Day of Prayer on May 3.
“It’s time we pause, and that we thank God for where we are, for our lives in S.C.,” McMaster said. “We want to recognize and console those who have lost loved ones … we want to thank families of all those who have stood tall with first responders, healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, deputies, sheriffs, firemen, etc. They have worked to keep us safe. We also want to pray for our future, which we know is very bright.”
The governor said that decisions will be made soon about dine-in restaurant service, close-contact professions such as beauty salons, barbers, spectator sports, theaters, and concerts.
“All those will come in due course,” McMaster said. “I’d like to be able to make them [the decisions] today and say the virus is gone.”
As for those who are upset with the direction he has taken in opening up the economy, he said he has heard a lot about it.
“Some say we’re doing it too fast, some say too slow, but I think we’re doing it just right,” he said. “You can’t please everybody…”
Dr. Linda Bell with S.C. Department of Health and Environment reported 160 new cases of COVID-19 today, with confirmed cases topping out at 6,258, in addition to 12 more deaths, now totaling 256.
“We’re seeing a flattening of the curve,” Bell said. “I know [people are] anxiously waiting to fully lift all restrictions and so am I. There’s no magic number at which time we can give … full loosening of restrictions ... our goal is not to test everyone in S.C., it is our goal to test everyone who is sick.”
The governor said he is confident that South Carolinians will do their part to comply with social distancing and other safety precautions.
“We can depend on the common sense and integrity and family nature of the people of S.C. to do what we think is necessary,” McMaster said.
McMaster said they do not anticipate a surge in positive cases due to opening more businesses, but they will "cross that bridge if we come to it."