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SC Governor bans in-restaurant dining due to coronavirus

Gov. Henry McMaster says restaurants will still be encouraged to give customers takeout and drive-thru.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a series of orders for the state, including closing dine-in services at restaurants, prohibiting events of 50 people or more at publicly owned sites, and extending the deadline for state taxes as the number of cases of coronavirus grows.

McMaster spoke Tuesday afternoon at the state's emergency operations center to address the virus outbreak and the state's response. 

RELATED: Live updates: Coronavirus in South Carolina

As of late Tuesday, there were 47 total coronavirus cases statewide, up 14 from a day earlier, including the first reported case in Richland County. Health officials confirmed the first death Monday related to the coronavirus, a person who who'd been at an extended nursing facility in Lexington.

RELATED: DHEC: 14 New cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in South Carolina

Here are the orders issued by the governor. These are not requests, but mandates which must be followed: 

  • State agencies can waive all regulations to address the situation more quickly and so the state can move more nimbly
  • Restaurants and bars must close dine in service starting Wednesday, March 18.  McMaster is encouraging and recommending curbside and takeout services at restaurants. 
  • Prohibiting public events of more than 50 people at publicly owned sites
  • State tax deadline extended until June 1 to file and pay. This includes businesses 
  • DHEC will waive regulations so they can use nursing schools students
  • The National Guard has been asked to coordinate with hospitals for mobile facilities. None have been opened yet, but this will allow planning

The following requests were made by the governor:

  • Grocery stores should limit customers purchases for paper products and disinfectants.
  • McMaster wants seniors hours for grocery stores so the elderly are not in the presence of other customers
  • SC medical & surgical centers are asked to halt all elective surgeries in the next 72 hours.
  • Request insurance companies to pay 100 percent of the cost of coronavirus office visits and that no payment is required for all related test, including x-rays.
  • Incentivising people with non COVID-19 symptoms to do telehealth. 
  • Asking every private employer to allow workers to allow them to work remotely 

Schools Update: 

There are dozens of approved feeding sites. People can find that information by going to ed.sc.gov or local school district websites.

SCETV, beginning on Tuesday March 26, will offer instructional programming for all age levels from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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. DHEC is working with CDC to identify all those who might have been in contact with these individuals. These people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

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.
  • get the influenza vaccine.

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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