Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in South Carolina, US, order residents to stay at home until at least April 12. Business and travel restrictions remain in place.

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 06 Apr 2020 22:25 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): South Carolina (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 12
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant business and transport disruptions

Summary
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order requiring residents to stay at home, except to perform essential tasks, from 1700 April 7 until at least April 12, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order stipulates 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.

Officials in South Carolina had previously ordered nonessential businesses in the state to close, as well as a ban on public access to beaches and lakes. 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 New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. These orders are also in place until April 12, but are likely to be extended.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order in 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 - Executive Order 17: https://governor.sc.gov/news/2020-03/gov-henry-mcmaster-orders-non-essential-businesses-closed-throughout-sc

Governor of South Carolina - Work or Home Order: https://governor.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/Executive-Orders/2020-04-06%20eFILED%20Executive%20Order%20No.%202020-21%20-%20Stay%20at%20Home%20or%20Work%20Order.pdf

South Carolina COVID-19 Updates: www.scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19