COVID-19, or “coronavirus,” is a highly contagious respiratory disease that has now been detected in more than 100 locations, including the United States. Anyone can become infected but COVID-19 has shown to be especially dangerous for the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. Right now in South Carolina we have an opportunity to get ahead of this and slow the spread of this disease but it will take all of us working together as a community to protect one another. Out of an abundance of caution I have postponed all of my public meetings and campaign events until further notice and I encourage everyone to take similar precautions and practice social distancing. 

 

Here is a collection of resources and information about the outbreak: 

 

The Latest in South Carolina: 

On May 11, Governor McMaster announced that additional Businesses, Gyms, Pools, will be able to open on Monday, May 18. The order can be read here.   

 

On May 11, Governor McMaster announced that restaurants can resume limited dine-in services with social distancing measures in place. The order can be read here. 

 

On May 8, Governor McMaster lifted boating restrictions statewide. The order can be read here

 

On May 4, Governor McMaster lifted the “Work-Or-Home” order and announced that restaurants could begin outdoor dining service with appropriate social distancing measures in place.  The order can be read here.

On April 28, Governor McMaster extended the State of Emergency due to COVID-19 for an additional 15 days. The executive order can be read here.

On April 18, Governor McMaster issued an executive order authorizing the reopening of South Carolina public beaches beginning April 21 at 12:00pm and the reopening of furniture, clothing, shoe, jewelry, luggage, sporting goods, book, craft, music & department stores as well as flea markets and florists beginning April 20 at 5:00pm. These stores will be limited to 20% of occupancy or 5 customers per 1,000 sq ft. The order can be read here. 

 

On April 16, Governor McMaster announced that all public boat ramps and landings are authorized to re-open. 

On April 6, Governor McMaster issued a mandatory "Work or Home" order beginning April 7 at 5pm. The order can be read here.

 

On March 31, Governor McMaster ordered the closure of all nonessential businesses in South Carolina. The order can be read here.

 

On March 30, Congressman Joe Cunningham called on Governor McMaster to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.


On March 30, Governor McMaster ordered the closure of all South Carolina beaches as well as all boat ramps and landings on the state’s lakes, rivers and waterways.

On March 24, Charleston City Council passed a 2-week “Stay at Home” order which instructs Charleston residents to remain in their homes for 14 days and only leave to run ‘essential’ errands. The full ordinance can be read here

 

On March 24, Governor McMaster and Education Superintendent Molly Spearman jointly announced that South Carolina schools will not reopen in April. 

On March 23, Governor McMaster issued an executive order directing law enforcement to “disperse groups of 3 or more according to their discretion.” This executive order does not apply to private residences or businesses. 

On March 20, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that the tax filing deadline will be pushed back to July 15th.

 

On March 20, Governor McMaster announced that small businesses in SC can apply for disaster assistance loans from the Small Business Administration.

 

On March 19, Governor McMaster announced that:

  • Each public university, college, and technical college president will, at their discretion, determine essential employees & allow non-essential employees to work from home, and in all cases, to allow students to continue coursework online for the semester

  • Waived Department of Employment and Workforce regulations to allow unemployment claims to be expedited by at least one week

  • Unemployment insurance payments are suspended for employers until June 1st, allowing business owners to have additional capital on hand

  • Procurement regulations are temporarily suspended to allow state agencies to rapidly acquire resources to combat the COVID-19 virus

  • DHEC will temporarily suspend enforcement of certificate of need regulations necessary to expedite treatment for the virus

On March 17, Governor McMaster announced that:

  • Restaurants and bars must close their dine-in service starting March 18 but should continue to provide delivery and take-out options

  • All state taxes are delayed until June 1st

  • State agencies waive any regulation they need to address the coronavirus crisis

  • Organized events of more than 50 persons in a state, county, city, or other publicly-owned facility are prohibited, except for essential government functions

On March 15, Governor McMaster announced that all public schools and colleges in South Carolina will be closed through the end of March.

 

The CDC has recommended that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.

 

Precautions: 

One of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 is by practicing social distancing. This means:

  • Avoiding any large gatherings

  • Maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others whenever possible

  • Limiting trips to stores and restaurants 

  • Working from home whenever possible 

Social distancing has proven to be effective at “flattening the curve” which is an attempt to slow the spread of disease so that we don’t overburden our healthcare system. Flattening the curve also gives healthcare providers time to prepare and stock up on crucial supplies. 

 

Other precautions to take:

  • Wash your hands frequently (CDC guidelines on handwashing can be found here)

  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol 

  • Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces every day 

  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands

  • Avoid shaking hands

  • Avoid air travel 

  • Cover your cough/sneezes 

  • Stay home if you feel sick 

 

Symptoms:

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure. 

 

Take Action: 

If you or a loved one is showing flu-like symptoms or has any concerns about the virus, MUSC is offering free, 24/7 virtual/telemedicine screenings for COVID-19.

 

The DHEC Care Line can also be called at 1-855-472-3432 from 8am – 6pm x 7 days a week.

 

Additional Resources: 

The CDC website provides comprehensive and up-to-date information about the symptoms of COVID-19 and updated guidance about how to limit the spread

 

The DHEC website has a page dedicated to COVID-19 updates and recommendations

 

The Post & Courier is keeping real-time stats about the spread of COVID-19 in South Carolina

 

CDC resources on how to cope with stress while social distancing

 

Charleston County School District is offering free breakfast and lunch for children under 18, Monday-Friday from 11:00am-1:00pm via drive-thru pickup service at 15 different locations

 

Berkeley County School District is offering free lunch and snacks to children under 18 Monday-Friday from 11:00am-12:00pm via drive-thru pickup service at 12 different locations

 

One final note, during this time our community’s small businesses are going to take a hit. Consider shopping online, ordering delivery, or buying gift cards to use later on as a way to relieve some of the burden on your favorite stores and restaurants.

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