'This is unprecedented’: McMaster orders bars, restaurants to close dine-in service starting Wednesday

'This is unprecedented’: McMaster orders bars, restaurants to close dine-in service starting Wednesday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – Governor Henry McMaster announced on Wednesday he’s issuing an executive order that will have a huge impact on bars and restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.

He was joined by officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control at the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center.

During the news conference, McMaster said all restaurants and bars must close their dine-in service starting Wednesday morning. He said curbside takeout and delivery are encouraged during this time in order to support businesses and their employees.

He also announced that he is prohibiting organized events of 50 or more across the state.

Local restaurant owners in Horry County said they expected the news, but it was still difficult to hear.

“This is unprecedented," Darren Smith, owner of Bonfire in Conway, said.

Not many of Smith’s customers use his carryout option.

“It’s only about 5%," he said. "So we go from five to 100.”

Bonfire has been through flooding and a fire before, so Smith is used to facing adversity. Bonfire doesn’t deliver, but Smith said he’ll probably have no choice but to implement delivery as soon as he can.

Corey Fields, the general manager of King Street Grille in Market Common, said many of his employees had a hard time taking the news of the dining room closure.

“A lot of them are upset," Fields said. "A lot of them are college students too, so some of them are at home, but ones that are here are definitely taking it pretty hard.”

McMaster also asked grocery stores and big box stores to limit the number of customer purchases on paper products and disinfectants.

DHEC announced that there are 14 new coronavirus cases in South Carolina, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 47. There is one coronavirus-related death in the state.

RELATED COVERAGE:

DHEC: Three positive coronavirus cases confirmed in Horry County; 28 total statewide

The death was an elderly person out of Lexington County. The person was a resident at Lexington Medical Center Extended Care Skilled Nursing Facility.

DHEC emphasizes the importance of practicing disease prevention measures and following recommendations for social distancing to protect the health and safety of all South Carolinians. This includes:

  • washing your hands frequently,
  • covering your cough,
  • staying home when you’re sick, and
  • appropriately disposing tissues and other items that you’ve sneezed or coughed into.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.