Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in South Carolina, US, extend stay-at-home order through at least May 11. Some business restrictions lifted.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Florence, South Carolina
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Spartanburg, South Carolina

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 14:52 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): South Carolina (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant business and transport disruptions

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order extending movement and business restrictions in the state, through at least May 11, as part of the government's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Residents are required to stay at home, except to perform essential tasks, such as obtaining basic goods, attending to a medical issue, caring for a person in need, and performing outdoor recreational activities, while maintaining a proper distance from others. Residents may also go to work at an essential business or service. Authorities also extended a ban on lodging businesses to make new reservations for travelers from areas considered to have extensive community transmission of COVID-19, including the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In-person lessons at public schools have been canceled for the remainder of the academic year. Gatherings of three people or more remain banned.

Some business and recreational restrictions have been lifted since April 20. Access to public beaches, public piers, docks, and wharves is allowed. Some retail stores, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, and sporting goods stores, as well as bookstores and florists, may reopen, as long as they limit the number of customers who are simultaneously in the stores to 20-percent capacity or no more than five customers per 92 square meters (1,000 square feet) of retail space; businesses must also ensure customers are properly distanced from one another and enhance sanitation within the stores. Other nonessential businesses must remain closed to in-person services, but may offer delivery services, and continue to operate with their employees working from home. Local authorities may impose stricter restrictions if they believe it is necessary to protect public health.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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