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SC governor lifts mandatory home or work order, allows outdoor restaurant dining

Gov. McMaster said the home or work order and rules stopping outdoor dining are repealed as of Monday, May 4.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is lifting the mandatory home or work order for the state, making it voluntary, and allowing restaurants to again serve customers in outdoor dining situations.

McMaster issued a series of executive orders Friday relaxing many rules that had previously been put in place during a news conference. He also called for a statewide day of prayer on Sunday.

The home or work order (essentially a stay at home order) will now become voluntary on Monday, May 4 at 12:00 a.m. That's also the same day outdoor dining returns. 

The home or work order was first issued back on back April 6.

McMaster said it's still being determined what to do about relaxing other rules, including hair salons, gyms, and public venues, but no decision has been made.

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)

The governor also announced that he has lifted a ban on short term rental companies denying reservations for people from virus 'hotspots.' The governor has also lifted the executive order requiring individuals entering the state from the same “hotspots” to self-quarantine for two weeks.

“Our goal from the onset of this deadly pandemic has been to protect South Carolinians, but as we all know, the state’s economic health is a major component of the state’s public health,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “South Carolinians, now more than ever, should be vigilant in protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their communities by practicing social distancing and continuing to follow the advice and recommendations from our public health experts.”

On Wednesday, a meeting of the AccelerateSC group, a task force designed to reopen the state quickly and safely, got input about when possibly restaurants could reopen.

Lizard's Thicket CEO Bobby Williams Jr., who's on the task force and chairs the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, said outdoor dining could start as early as Monday, May 4.

RELATED: South Carolina restaurants could reopen by mid-May, group says

Indoor dining could start two weeks later, on May 11, if the the outdoor dining works well. However, the restaurants would be under strict social distancing guidelines and rules on sanitation.  

Already, Irmo's town council has approved beginning outdoor dining again in its jurisdiction this week.

AccelerateSC, has met over the past week to discuss various aspects of reopening South Carolina quickly and safely. 

In Thursday's AccelerateSC meeting, they discussed the 'response' portion of reopening. 

RELATED: SC governor' task force to reopen South Carolina meets again

RELATED: Accelerate SC looks for solutions for local government amid the pandemic

South Carolina is expected to receive $1.996 billion from the federal government’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. That money will reimburse state and local governments for COVID-19 related expenses.

The state is also receiving $48 million for the emergency education relief fund. That money is dispersed by the governor to the Department of Education and higher education institutions.

 "We must make sure that this money is spent wisely, spent in a way that people understand it, is spent on things that are needed and that none of it is wasted,” says Governor Henry McMaster.

He stressed, during Thursday’s meeting, that there needs to be accountability with the money.

RELATED: South Carolina lawmakers to return to State House on May 12

The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) is expecting to receive $216 million from the CARES Act. They also plan to keep some form of E-learning in the future.

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