Gov. McMaster held a conference Monday to give updates on South Carolina, COVID-19 and Accelerate SC.
Gov. Henry McMaster announced Monday that retail stores can reopen as of 5 p.m. on Monday, and beaches can reopen as of noon Tuesday.
Store occupancy will be limited to five customers per 1,000 square feet or 20% occupancy, whichever is less, in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.
But the governor said localities will have the final say in re-opening coastal areas. Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach and Edisto Beach officials have already announced that they will continue their entry checkpoints and restrict access to local residents. Myrtle Beach also announced that public beach access will remain closed until further notice.
Despite these reopenings, South Carolina’s stay-at-home order will remain in effect, along with the ban on eating inside restaurants.
“Our measured, deliberate approach has been the right one we believe,” McMaster said. “Our goal was to cause the most damage possible to the virus, while doing the least possible damage to our businesses. South Carolina’s business is business.”
McMaster also spoke about the formation of Accelerate SC, an organization that he said will continue for around 30 days. There will be 29 members, including leaders from manufacturing, tourism, hospitality and state agencies.
“[Accelerate SC] will target workforce needs, logistics, regulatory issues and transportation issues,” McMaster said. “Accelerate South Carolina will also address protecting our most vulnerable citizens: our seniors, minorities in rural cities and those with chronic diseases.”
McMaster also said that Accelerate SC would serve as a one-stop resource for information for all residents to help find available government services.
“It will work on the web, by email and also by talking to a live person who can direct everyone where to go,” McMaster said.
Dr. Linda Bell, the state’s chief epidemiologist, said a recent model by the University of Washington indicated that peak hospitalizations in the state were April 15 and peak deaths were April 9.
“Together, these two projections indicate that the curve may have begun to level for us here in South Carolina,” said Bell.
As of Monday, DHEC has announced that there are 4,439 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and 124 deaths.
McMaster said he has not yet made a decision on schools, but he is meeting with school officials and a decision is likely soon.
For up-to-date information from DHEC, visit https://www.scdhec.gov/.