Gov. Henry McMaster speaks at a March 31 press conference regarding the coronavirus and its impact on South Carolina.
Gov. Henry McMaster on Friday issued two new executive orders in response to rising coronavirus cases across South Carolina, but he stopped short of issuing an official stay-at-home order.
The first of the new orders expands closures of nonessential business to include furniture stores, jewelry stores, department stores, clothings and shoe stores, florists, bookstores and music stores. The order will take effect Monday at 5 p.m.
The second prohibits short-term rentals by people coming from COVID-19 hotspots around the country. The rentals include hotels, short-term rentals, vacation homes, resorts, timeshares and more.
“We will go as far as we need to, or as advised, to keep the people of this state safe,” McMaster said in a news conference Friday.
State Epidemiologist Linda Bell reported 147 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and a total of 1,700 cases statewide. There is at least one case in every county in South Carolina, according to Bell and a SCDHEC report released Thursday. On Friday, DHEC also indicated it would make public the up-to-date numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases by local zip code.
South Carolina is one of eight states that do not have an official stay-at-home ordinance, and the governor has faced pressure on Twitter and other social media platforms to order one as he slowly worked to close popular beaches and businesses. Social distancing guidelines have been advised for weeks but not mandated by the state’s government.
Despite issuing a series of orders slowly shutting down commerce, McMaster faces pressure to issue a stay-at-home ordinance from state representatives and health officials. He said his decisions are based on the data and advice from professionals in the state.
“Our state is not like everyone else’s state,” McMaster said. “We are taking a deliberate approach to be as aggressive as we possibly can at the right time.”
Bell estimated the number of positive coronavirus cases in South Carolina to reach 8,500 by the beginning of May. Health officials continue to encourage everyone to practice social distancing and follow hygiene guidelines.
The latest COVID-19 updates can be found on the SCDHEC website, sc.dhec.gov/covid19.