Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in South Carolina, US, extend orders requiring residents to stay home, nonessential businesses to close, until at least April 27.

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 13 Apr 2020 10:50 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): South Carolina (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 27
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant business and transport disruptions

Summary
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order extending the requirements for residents to stay at home, except to perform essential tasks, and nonessential businesses to close until at least April 27 as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure maintains the stipulation that residents may leave their homes only to obtain basic goods, attend a medical issue, care for a family member or friend in need, attend a religious service, go to work at an essential business or service, or perform outdoor recreational activities while maintaining a proper distance from other people.

Nonessential businesses in the state must remain closed, and public access to beaches and lakes remains banned. Essential businesses and services, including grocery shops, pharmacies, banks, and companies in the food, security, transport, communications, and energy industries, are allowed to continue operating. Officials have also ordered lodging businesses to not accept new bookings or reservations from visitors entering the state from areas more affected by COVID-19 transmission, including, but not limited to, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. These orders were also extended through at least April 27. In-person lessons in public schools will also remain canceled until at least April 27.

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 measures taken by South Carolina authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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.

Advice
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.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Governor of South Carolina - Order to close Nonessential Businesses: https://governor.sc.gov

Governor of South Carolina - Work or Home Order: https://governor.sc.gov

Governor of South Carolina - State of Emergency Extension: https://governor.sc.gov

South Carolina COVID-19 Updates: www.scdhec.gov