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SC governor shuts down non-essential businesses statewide

The executive order focuses on three key types of businesses: Entertainment venues, recreational and athletic facilities, and close-contact service providers.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered all non-essential businesses statewide to close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

McMaster announced the move Tuesday afternoon at a news conference at the state’s emergency operations center. 

FACTS NOT FEAR: Complete Coronavirus Coverage

McMaster's executive order focuses on three key types of businesses: Entertainment venues, recreational and athletic facilities, and close-contact service providers. It goes into effect on April 1 at 5 p.m., and runs for 15 days by state statute. It could be amended, the governor said. 

The move would just down things such as hair salons, tattoo parlors, nail salons, bowling alleys, and gyms.

This is the full list, provided by the governor's office:

Entertainment venues and facilities as follows:

  • Night clubs
  • Bowling alleys
  • Arcades
  • Concert venues
  • Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers
  • Tourist attractions (including museums, aquariums, and planetariums)
  • Racetracks
  • Indoor children’s play areas (excluding daycare facilities)
  • Adult entertainment venues
  • Bingo halls
  • Venues operated by social clubs

Recreational and athletic facilities and activities as follows:

  • Fitness and exercise centers and commercial gyms
  • Spas and public or commercial swimming pools
  • Group exercise facilities, to include yoga, barre, and spin studios or facilities
  • Spectator sports
  • Sports that involve interaction with another person in close proximity and within less than six (6) feet of another person
  • Activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
  • Activities on commercial or public playground equipment

Close-contact service providers as follows:

  • Barber shops
  • Hair salons
  • Waxing salons
  • Threading salons
  • Nail salons and spas
  • Body-art facilities and tattoo services
  • Tanning salons
  • Massage-therapy establishments and massage services

If a business wonders if they are on the non-essential list, they should complete the Essential Business Clarification form located on the South Carolina Department of Commerce website. Questions can also be sent to covid19sc@sccommerce.com, or business representatives can call 803-734-2873. 

A team from South Carolina Department of Commerce will review the business’s request for clarification, and the business will receive a response with their determination, essential or non-essential, within 24 hours. If a business is not explicitly addressed in the governor's executive order, the business should continue normal operations until a ruling is made.

The order will not apply to essential businesses, such as grocery stores, gas stations, big-box retailers, and repair services, and it would still allow drive-in, takeout, and delivery from restaurants, as well as daycares.

It’s the latest broad move yet by McMaster to curb people interacting with one another, in accordance with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. He’d previously ordered state employees who could to work at home, asked private businesses to do the same, and closed restaurants

"People have been doing what we've asked them to do," McMaster said.

He said 73 percent of state employees are working from home, and there's about a two-thirds drop in traffic on the interstates. 

RELATED: Stay-at-home order now in effect in Columbia

McMaster said he trusts the people of South Carolina to take warnings seriously. He's also told law enforcement to break up groups of three or more people. 

On Monday McMaster did close public access to all beaches and boat ramps on all rivers and lakes after learning from law enforcement that those areas were still crowded over the weekend. And on Friday, he asked that people coming in from virus hotspots such as New York and New Orleans self-quarantine for 14 days. 

RELATED: SC Governor orders public access to all beaches closed

RELATED: SC Governor issues mandatory quarantine for visitors from virus 'hotspots'

Current Cases: 

South Carolina currently has over 1,083 cases of coronavirus statewide with 22 confirmed deaths as of Tuesday. That's an increase of 158 cases and 4 deaths since the previous day.  

RELATED: DHEC: 158 new cases, 4 new deaths related to coronavirus

Full Video: Gov. McMaster's Briefing March 31, 2020

Coronavirus Basic Facts 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. 

People can help to prevent the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. And, always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • stay home when you’re sick.
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and put it in the trash immediately.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For general questions about COVID-19 residents should visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.

For residents concerned about their own personal health or are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your personal doctor or healthcare provider. DHEC has launched its Care Line. If residents have general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call volume has been high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.

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