HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Horry County leaders held a virtual news briefing to address the county’s response to the coronavirus and how authorities will enforce the governor’s “Home or Work” order.
The new executive order went into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 7.
“This is unlike anything we’ve ever faced before,” said Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner.
The order states that all South Carolinians must remain at home or work unless visiting family, exercising or obtaining essential goods or services, which include food shopping and medicine pick-up. The order does not impact a person’s ability to exercise outdoors or go for a walk as a family.
Many people have asked how the order will be enforced by law enforcement across the state.
Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill said that they are looking for voluntary compliance. He said he has been in contact with other law enforcement across the region and that is the same message that they’re all putting out.
“As we get calls in for violations, our officers are responding to those calls and we’ll handle those calls appropriately,” Hill said.
To watch the virtual news briefing with Horry County leaders below:
He admitted that the new order will be tough to enforce, especially since people are still encouraged to go outside and get some exercise. But Hill said that if you’re out at night, there’s a good chance that you will be stopped and questioned.
“The order is either ‘work or home’ and so at night if you’re out and about and you’re not going to the store, you’re not exercising, there’s a good chance you’re going to be stopped by law enforcement and questioned,” Hill said.
Hill added that they are relying on the community to alert them to people who are not obeying the order.
He said that they have received complaints about groups that are larger than three or less and parties along the Grand Strand, and officers are able to go and investigate those complaints.
“One of those things I want to impart on you as a community that’s going to help us do our job to help you is to call us when you see those parties and hear about those parties. We’re following trends on social media to address those but it’s important that we have that two-way communication so we can address those issues very quickly,” Hill said.
Horry County leaders also said during the virtual briefing that communication with the South Department of Health and Environmental Control has improved now that officials are sharing zip code information to help break down a more specific location to these positive COVID-19 cases.
Just a few weeks ago county leaders were only receiving a general number of positive cases in their county with no real understanding of where exactly these cases were being reported.
But Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster said it’s still a work in progress.
“Honestly. there are some challenges with DHEC. We are still trying to work with them to find out what are the best solutions and how can we all come together to handle some of the other problems,” Webster said.
Meanwhile, the county continues to move forward one day at a time and adapting during these uncertain times. Webster said leaders are also planning a road to recovery.
“Our goal is to have the community back up and running as quick and efficient as possible when that time comes,” Webster said.
Horry County leaders reminded the public to continue to use common sense and good judgment. They added that there are phone banks set up for the community to call if they have any questions. That number is 843-915-5000.