COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – Gov. Henry McMaster has canceled part of an executive order that closed public accesses to beaches.
The governor said during a news conference on Monday that he is allowing public beach accesses and some retail businesses to reopen.
McMaster said it will be up to mayors and councils to make their own decisions on whether or not to reopen public beach accesses. He added the piers, docks and wharfs are also able to reopen.
He said that public beach accesses will be allowed to reopen at noon on Tuesday.
He added that the rules of social distancing will still apply on the beach. Law enforcement are still ordered to disperse crowds of three or more people that are causing a threat to public health.
Over the weekend, several state officials alluded to McMaster planning to make an announcement during the briefing that the state’s public beach accesses and some non-essential businesses would reopen.
On April 17, Rep. Alan Clemmons sent a formal request to McMaster requesting he reopen public beach accesses across the state to local residents.
Clemmons noted that, for area residents, beaches provide therapy, exercise, and food via fishing and crabbing.
S.C. State Senator Stephen Goldfinch said on Facebook Saturday afternoon simply, “Beach Access being reopened next week.” He told WMBF News the information came from the governor’s office.
As for non-essential businesses, McMaster first announced the closure of many across S.C. on March 31. That list was expanded with another executive order on April 3. The governor cited non-compliance with social distancing as the reason for expanding the list.
The governor announced retail stores will be allowed to reopen at 5 p.m. Monday. But he reminded those businesses that they must limit the number of customers allowed in their stores. The stores can operate at no more than 20% of occupancy or with only five customers 1,000 square feet of space, whichever is less. Social distancing guidelines also still apply. Customers must maintain six feet of separation while shopping and during checkout.
RETAIL STORES ALLOWED TO REOPEN:
- Furniture stores
- Home furnishing stores
- Clothing stores
- Shoe and clothing accessory stores
- Jewelry stores
- Luggage and leather goods stores
- Department stores
- Sporting goods stores
- Book stores
- Craft and music stores
Even though state health officials have said they are not expecting coronavirus cases to peak until early May, infection rates have dropped enough to ease some restrictions, according to the governor’s chief of staff.
State health officials on Sunday announced 136 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and one additional death.