WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he'll announce soon the state's "rejuvenation" and "revitalization" plan to get the economy going again.
McMaster gave an update on the state's ongoing coronavirus response and the deadly tornado and severe weather event from Monday.
The tornado and severe weather outbreak is the worst one-day total of deaths from tornadoes since 1984. There there are two confirmed deaths in Orangeburg County, one confirmed death in Oconee County, and five dead in Hampton County, and officials said that number could go up.
It's also the worst nationwide tornado outbreak since March of 2012.
McMaster went on an aerial tour of the damage in Seneca, where he said the destruction was "enormous."
McMaster then turned to the state's coronavirus response. He said the goal now will be to get the economy going again soon, but he did not give a timeline of when that would be. But he did promise an announcement on their plan to do that "soon."
"We want to do as much damage to the virus as we can without damaging out economy," he said. "Our goal is to save jobs but also to save businesses and save families."
He said the compliance with his home or work order had been good, but he said now is not the time to let up on the effort to stay at home and stay safe.
The home or work order was created to in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus. Here are some of the key provisions of the order, which puts in criminal penalties for non-compliance:
- Everyone should stay home unless working, visiting family, or getting necessary goods or service. People can go for walks or exercise as long as they're practicing good social distancing
- Mandates that retail stores limit customers to no more than 5 customers for every 1,000 square feet of space, or 20 percent capacity, whichever is less, and increasing social distancing
- No new businesses closed, beyond the executive order that went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday (that included clothing and furniture stores)
- Violations will be a misdemeanor with 30 days in jail or a $100 fine.
- Essential businesses will stay open as they have under previous orders, so going to grocery stores, pharmacies, picking up food at a restaurant, or shopping at big box or home improvement stores is allowed
Over the weekend, McMaster extended the state of emergency in by another 15 days. According to state law, the governor must reauthorize the state of emergency every 15 days.
While the emergency takes place, all his previous orders remain in place, including shutting down many non-essential businesses and closing state beaches and public waterway ramps and docks.
What is the Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. The version that's caused the pandemic, referred to as COVID-19, is a new strain of the virus.
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 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.