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South Carolina restaurants reopen for outdoor dining

Restaurants are now allowed to seat and serve their customers outdoor if they wish.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina restaurants are now able to have in-person dining again, as long as the customers sit outside.

The governor's order allowing for restaurants to serve outdoor went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday. While it's not clear what percentage of restaurants launched, there were clearly businesses serving outdoors in the Midlands right away. 

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Gov. Henry McMaster had ordered all restaurants to go to takeout, delivery, or drive-thru only in March. But after hearing from restaurants owners during a task force meeting last week, he decided to ease the restrictions on outdoor dining. 

In store dining is still prohibited. A target date for that restriction to be lifted has not yet been announced. 

Here are the new rules on outdoor dining:

  • Tables are to be spaced a minimum of 8 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table);
  • Limit table groups to 8 individuals;
  • Eliminate gatherings in the building when entering or exiting outdoor seating area;
  • Maintain strict social/physical distancing guidelines;
  • Tables, chairs, and seats should be sanitized after every customer

If open areas and/or temporary tents are utilized by existing, permitted restaurants, all sides of the tent must be open and the following conditions are required:

  • Tables are to be spaced a minimum of 8 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table);
  • Table groups are to be limited to 8 individuals;
  • State approved fire extinguisher within 75 feet of tent area;
  • Minimum of 7-foot-6 inch head room (ceiling height)

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