COVID-19 | SC Executive Orders

COVID-19 | South Carolina Executive Orders

Updated May 29, 2020

Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina issued an executive order to lift the statewide “Work-or-Home” order and return its restrictions back to voluntary status beginning May 4, 2020.

McMaster’s “Home or Work Order” was effective beginning April 7, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and directed people across the state stay at home unless they are engaging in essential business or services, caring for family or pets, obtaining necessary supplies, engaging in necessary health and safety activities, attending religious services, or attending court proceedings as required by law. The order also restricted the number of shoppers in stores to five customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space, or 20 percent of the occupancy limit. Previously, Gov. McMaster ordered the closure of non-essential businesses throughout the state effective April 1, 2020.

Gov. McMaster issued his fourth “State of Emergency” order  (Executive Order #29) April 25, 2020, which extends previously issued COVID-19 orders for 15 days, or until rescinded. According to the Governor, this order is necessary to continue to access federal emergency funding and to suspend various regulations. At the briefing, Gov. McMaster said he is considering all factors and believes there is no magic number or date on which to rescind any or all specific orders. This extension provides the Governor with the flexibility as he considers appropriate courses of action based on information provided by health officials, scientists, and numerous other stakeholders.

Gov. McMaster has issued several other orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all outlined below. (Note: Executive Orders unrelated to COVID-19 have been intentionally omitted)


Executive Order #38 | State of Emergency to Facilitate Coordinated COVID-19 Pandemic Response (Order Text)

  • Issued May 27, 2020 and became effective immediately
  • South Carolina State of Emergency orders are effective for 15 days, therefore, the new order extends previously issued COVID-19 executive orders for 15 days or until rescinded

Executive Order #37 | Additional Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures (Order Text)

  • Issued May 21 and became effective immediately

Executive Order #36 | Additional Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures (Order Text)

  • Issued May 15 and became effective immediately

Executive Order #35 | State of Emergency to Facilitate COVID-19 Pandemic Response, Testing, & Other Measures (Order Text)

  • Issued May 12, 2020 and became effective immediately
  • South Carolina State of Emergency orders are effective for 15 days, therefore, the new order extends previously issued COVID-19 executive orders for 15 days or until rescinded
  • The following orders shall remain in full force and effect for the duration of the State of Emergency unless modified, amended, or rescinded:
    • 2020- 09 (Closing Schools)
    • 2020-10 (Restaurant Closure and Other Measures)
    • 2020-11 (State Employee Remote Working, Emergency Unemployment, Emergency Procurement, and Regulatory Flexibility – Healthcare)
    • 2020-12 (Regulatory Flexibility to Facilitate “Social Distancing”)
    • 2020-13 (Authorizing Law Enforcement to Maintain Order, Ensure Public Safety, and Preserve Public Health During the State of Emergency)
    • 2020-16 (Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches and Waters)
    • 2020-18 (Closure of Non-Essential Businesses, Venues, Facilities, Services, and Activities for Public Use)
    • 2020-21 (Home or Work Order)
    • 2020- 22 (Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers)
    • 2020-25 (Modification of Emergency Restrictions for Public Waters & Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims & Benefits)
    • 2020-28 (Modification of Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters & Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures).
    • 2020-30 (Rescinding Self-Quarantine, Lodging, & Travel Restrictions for Individuals Entering S.C. from High-Risk Areas)
    • 2020-31 (Modification of Home or Work Order & Authorization of Outdoor Dining Services)
    • 2020-33 (Rescheduling Elections Postponed by Executive Order 2020-09 & 2020-29)
    • 2020-34 (Authorization of Limited Indoor Dining Services & Rescission of Boating Restrictions)
  • School Closures – Similar to previously issued orders.
  • Protection of First Responders – Similar to previously issued orders.
  • Transportation Waivers – Similar to previously issued orders.
  • Enforcement – Similar to previously issued orders.
  • General Provisions

Executive Order #34 | Authorization of Limited Indoor Dining Services & Rescission of Boating Restrictions (Order Text)

  • Issued May 8, 2020
  • Effective immediately, all statewide boating restrictions are lifted.
  • Monday, May 11 – Restaurants may reopen and provide limited dine-in services.
    • Guidelines include, but are not limited to, the following:
      • Only allow 50% of posted occupancy inside, as determined by fire marshals
      • Tables should be spaced 6-8 feet apart
      • Additional cleaning and sanitizing guidelines for equipment, tables, chairs, etc.
      • Additional guidance for health checks for all employees
      • Social distancing guidance for employees and customers

Executive Order #33 | Rescheduling Elections Postponed by Executive Order 2020-09 & 2020-29 (Order Text)

  • Elections postponed by Executive Order #29, will now be held July 14, 2020.

Executive Order #31 | Modification of Home or Work Order & Authorization of Outdoor Dining Services (Order Text)

  • Issued May 3, 2020
  • Effective May 4 at 12:01 a.m., statewide “Work-or-Home” order will be lifted and returned to voluntary status.
  • Restaurants may provide outdoor dining in addition to existing take out, curbside, and delivery services.  To view the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association’s “Temporary Outdoor Seating Guidelines” please click here.  In addition, to view their guidelines for the reopening the entire industry, please click here.
  • Effective immediately, Executive Order 2020-19 (Lodging & Travel Restrictions for Individuals from High-Risk Areas) and Executive Order 2020-14 (Self-Quarantine for Individuals from High-Risk Areas) are rescinded, which lifts the restrictions on short term rentals to individuals from “hotspots” and the requirement for individuals from these “hot spots” to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Executive Order #30 | Rescinding Self-Quarantine, Lodging, & Travel Restrictions for Individuals Entering S.C. from High-Risk Areas (Order Text)

  • Issued May 1, 2020 and became effective immediately

Executive Order #29 | State of Emergency Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Response, Other Measures (Order Text)

  • Issued April 27, 2020, became effective immediately
  • South Carolina State of Emergency orders are only effective for 15 days, therefore, the new order extends previously issued COVID-19 executive orders for 15 days or until rescinded
  • Summary of the Order:
    • The following orders shall remain in full force and effect for the duration of the State of Emergency unless modified, amended, or rescinded:
      1. 2020- 09 (Closing Schools)
      2. 2020-10 (Restaurant Closure and Other Measures)
      3. 2020-11 (State Employee Remote Working, Emergency Unemployment, Emergency Procurement, and Regulatory Flexibility – Healthcare)
      4. 2020-12 (Regulatory Flexibility to Facilitate “Social Distancing”)
      5. 2020-13 (Authorizing Law Enforcement to Maintain Order, Ensure Public Safety, and Preserve Public Health During the State of Emergency)
      6. 2020-14 (Required Self-Quarantine for Individuals Entering South Carolina from High-Risk Areas)
      7. 2020-16 (Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches and Waters)
      8. 2020-18 (Closure of Non-Essential Businesses, Venues, Facilities, Services, and Activities for Public Use)
      9. 2020-19 (Lodging and Travel Restrictions for Individuals Entering South Carolina from High-Risk Areas)
      10. 2020-21 (Home or Work Order)
      11. 2020- 22 (Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers)
      12. 2020-25 (Modification of Emergency Restrictions for Public Waters & Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims & Benefits)
      13. 2020-28 (Modification of Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters & Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures).
    • School Closures
      1. South Carolina’s schools are to remain closed to classroom instruction for the remainder of the 2019–2020 school year
      2. School districts are urged to work with the State Department of Education to provide voluntary, in-person summer learning opportunities for students who were enrolled in kindergarten through the eighth grade during the 2019–2020 school year, but who are at risk of falling behind in their learning.
      3. All state-supported colleges, universities, and technical colleges in the State of South Carolina are encouraged to complete the spring 2020 academic semester by delivering virtual and remote learning, by housing only out-of-state or displaced students, and by restricting on-campus services and activities to emergency or other critical personnel designated as essential, or whose presence is otherwise deemed necessary.
    • Elections
      1. Any election, to include special, county, and municipal elections, scheduled to be held in South Carolina or conducted by any agency, department, or political subdivision thereof, on or before May 12, 2020, shall be postponed and rescheduled.
    • Protection of First Responders – Same as previously issued.
    • Transportation Waivers – Same as previously issued.
    • Enforcement – Same as previously issued.
    • General Provisions

Executive Order #28 | Reopening of Public Beach Access and Reopening of Certain Retail Stores (Order Text)

  • Public Beach Access (Effective April 21 at noon) – removes restrictions on public access points to the state’s beaches, public piers, docks, and wharfs, while providing local officials discretion to restrict access.
  • Authorizes the following retail stores to reopen as of 5:00 p.m. April 21:
    • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
    • Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
    • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
    • Department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Book, craft, and music stores
    • Flea markets
    • Florists and flower stores
  • Reopened retail entities must adhere to social distancing requirements, operating at 20% occupancy or five customers per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. In addition, businesses must not knowingly allow customers to congregate within six feet of one another, excluding families, and follow relevant CDC and DHEC guidelines.
  • All other “nonessential” businesses previously closed by executive order will remain closed.

Executive Order 25 | Modification of Emergency Restrictions for Public Waters and Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims & Benefits (Order Text)

  • Issued April 16, 2020, became effective immediately, and lasts for the duration of the state of emergency unless otherwise modified
  • Boating:  Reopening of public boat ramps or boat landings, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots, will be effective Friday, April 17, 2020, at 12:00 p.m., for the purpose of launching and retrieving boats on the public waters of this State to facilitate authorized and permissible outdoor exercise and recreational activities. Public piers, docks, and wharfs providing public access to the public waters of this State shall continue to remain closed. The beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island, shall remain prohibited for the duration of the State of Emergency. Vessels must remain underway at all times unless exigent circumstances exist. Anchoring a boat in order to fish is allowed; however, rafting is prohibited under all circumstances. Individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit may continue to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities.
  • Modification and Extension of Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims and Benefits: The Executive Order directs DEW to waive, on a temporary basis and consistent with the aforementioned DOL guidance, application of the one-week waiting period for individuals who are otherwise eligible to receive unemployment benefits, pursuant to section 41-35-110(4) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, or alternatively, to determine that otherwise eligible individuals submitting claims in response to or associated with the unique circumstances and public health threat presented by COVID-19 “cannot pursue other employment for the usual one week’s period and that the terms of the statute cannot be met in such an unusual and limited circumstance.” 1989 S.C. Op. Att’y Gen. 286 (Oct. 3, 1989). This Section shall apply to claims submitted on or after April 19, 2020, and for the duration of the State of Emergency.

Executive Order #23 | Third State of Emergency Due to COVID-19 Pandemic (Order Text)

  • Issued April 12, 2020
  • South Carolina State of Emergency orders are only effective for 15 days, therefore, the new order extends all previously issued COVID-19 executive orders for 15 days or until rescinded.

Executive Order #22 | Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers (Order Text)

  • Issued April 8, 2020, effective immediately and lasts for the duration of the state of emergency unless otherwise modified
  • Section 1. Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers
    • A furlough shall mean and refer to a temporary period of time during which an employee performs no personal services for the employer as a result of a layoff caused by the economic impacts of COVID-19. In acknowledging that employees may need to be furloughed due to the ongoing and anticipated economic impacts associated with COVID-19, some employers have indicated a desire to offset the financial impacts of such furloughs by making voluntary COVID-19-related support payments to certain employees.
    • COVID-19 Support Payments shall mean a voluntary payment, or series of payments, made by an employer to an employee in response to furloughing the employee, which is for services rendered by the employee in the past, which is provided without obligation for the employee to perform or not perform any act in connection with the individual’s status as an employee, and which is made pursuant to a plan provided to DEW.
    • COVID-19 Support Payments shall be classified as a form of severance pay. Classification of COVID-19 Support Payments as non-wages will ensure that such payments do not reduce the unemployment benefits an otherwise eligible individual would be entitled to receive, in accordance with the terms of Executive Order No. 2020-11, as extended by Executive Order No. 2020-15.
    • DEW to interpret furloughed recipients of COVID19 Support Payments as unemployed, pursuant to Section 41-27-370 of the South Carolina Code of Laws and Regulation 47–20 of the South Carolina Code of Regulations, in response to or associated with the unique circumstances and public health threat presented by COVID-19. An employee will not be considered as having been overpaid unemployment insurance benefits solely because the employee received COVID-19 Support Payments pursuant to a COVID-19 Support Payments Plan.

Executive Order #21 | Home or Work Order (Order Text)

  • Issued April 6, 2020, effective Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and lasts the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified
  • All residents and visitors of the State of South Carolina are required to limit social interaction, practice “social distancing” in accordance with CDC guidance, and take every possible precaution to avoid potential exposure to, and to slow the spread of, COVID-19, and shall limit their movements outside of their home or place of residence except for purposes of engaging in Essential Business, Essential Activities, or Critical Infrastructure Operations.
  • Exceptions:
    • “Essential Business” does not include the following businesses, venues, facilities, services, and activities, which were previously deemed “nonessential” and directed to close in accordance with Executive Order No. 2020-18, which superseded, rescinded, and replaced Executive Order No. 2020-17:
      • Entertainment venues and facilities as follows: (a) Night clubs (b) Bowling alleys (c) Arcades (d) Concert venues (e) Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers (f) Tourist attractions (including museums, aquariums, and planetariums) (g) Racetracks (h) Indoor children’s play areas, with the exception of licensed childcare facilities (i) Adult entertainment venues (j) Bingo halls (k) Venues operated by social clubs
      • Recreational and athletic facilities and activities as follows: (a) Fitness and exercise centers and commercial gyms (b) Spas and public or commercial swimming pools (c) Group exercise facilities, to include yoga, barre, and spin studios or facilities (d) Spectator sports (e) Sports that involve interaction in close proximity to and within less than six (6) feet of another person (f) Activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment (g) Activities on commercial or public playground equipment
      • Close-contact service providers as follows: (a) Barber shops (b) Hair salons (c) Waxing salons (d) Threading salons (e) Nail salons and spas (f) Body-art facilities and tattoo services (g) Tanning salons (h) Massage-therapy establishments and massage services
      • Retail stores as follows: (a) Furniture and home-furnishings stores (b) Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores (c) Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores (d) Department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores (e) Sporting goods stores (f) Book, craft, and music stores (g) Flea markets (h) Florists and flower stores
    • “Essential Activities” include:
      • Caring for or visiting a family member in another Residence or transporting or travelling with a family member, provided that such activity is conducted with appropriate consideration of, and adherence to, guidance issued by state and federal public health and safety officials, to include the CDC, with regard to “social distancing.”
      • Obtaining necessary supplies and services for family or household members, such as food and supplies for household consumption and use, medical supplies or medication, supplies and equipment needed to work from home, and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence. Preference should be given to online ordering, home delivery, and curbside pick-up and delivery options and services wherever possible as opposed to in-store shopping.
      • Engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of family or household members, such as seeking medical, behavioral health, or emergency services.
      • Caring for pets, provided that such activity is conducted with appropriate consideration of, and adherence to, guidance issued by state and federal public health and safety officials, to include the CDC, with regard to “social distancing.”
      • Engaging in outdoor exercise or recreational activities, provided that a minimum distance of six (6) feet is maintained during such activities between all persons who are not occupants of the same Residence.
      • Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues, or other houses of worship.
      • Travelling as required by law, to include attending any court proceedings and transporting children as required by court order or custody agreement.
      • Any individual leaving his or her Residence as authorized herein shall take reasonable steps to maintain six (6) feet of separation from any other person.
    • “Critical Infrastructure Operations” include:
      • Individuals operating commercial vehicles transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels and petroleum products (to include fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, and liquid petroleum), livestock, poultry, feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultural products ready to be harvested (to include timber and wood chips); individuals employed by airlines; and individuals otherwise engaged in commercial transportation activities.
      • Individuals performing or assisting with military, healthcare, public safety, or emergency response operations, as well as any other operations or services identified by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in its March 28, 2020 Memorandum, or any future amendments or supplements thereto, as essential to continued critical infrastructure viability.
  • Order is subject to any clarification provided by the South Carolina Department of Commerce as authorized by and in accordance with the Clarification and Provisional Determination Process set forth in Section 2 of Executive Order No. 2020-18.
  • This order does not prohibit the continued operation of retail stores for the limited purpose of fulfilling online or telephone orders or providing alternate means of purchasing or delivering products or services—to include curbside purchase, pickup, or delivery and home or off-site delivery—provided that such options or measures can be implemented in a manner that facilitates and maintains effective “social distancing” and is consistent with any applicable guidance issued by state and federal public health and safety officials.
  • Any retail business not identified above or authorized to continue operations pursuant to any clarification issued by the Department of Commerce in accordance with the Clarification and Provisional Determination Process set forth in Section 2 of Executive Order No. 2020-18 shall be subject to the following emergency rules and restrictions in addition to any other applicable provisions of this order or any prior order:
    • Emergency Maximum Occupancy Rate. The business shall limit the number of customers allowed to enter and simultaneously occupy the premises so as not to exceed five (5) customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space, or twenty percent (20%) of the occupancy limit as determined by the fire marshal, whichever is less.
    • Social Distancing Practices. The business shall not knowingly allow customers, patrons, or other guests to congregate within six (6) feet of one another, exclusive of family units.
    • Sanitation. The business shall implement all reasonable steps to comply with any applicable sanitation guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health officials.
  • Any and all businesses, venues, facilities, services, and activities are urged to facilitate effective “social distancing” practices, telecommuting or work-from-home options for employees, and to provide alternate means of purchasing and delivering products and services, to include online or telephone orders and curbside or off-site deliveries.
  • This order does not repeal Executive Order No. 2020-10, as extended by Executive Order No. 2020-15, which directed any and all restaurants or other food-service establishments shall suspend on-premises or dine-in consumption.
  • This Order does not suspend Executive Order No. 2020- 18 – nonessential business closure and guidance for clarification.
  • Authorizes the Office of the Governor to provide or issue any necessary and appropriate supplemental guidance regarding the application of the order or to otherwise to provide clarification without the need for further orders.
  • Order does does not apply to essential or emergency meetings of state or local government bodies or gatherings of government officials or employees or other personnel that may be required in connection with the performance of emergency or essential government functions.
  • Criminal Penalty:  An individual who violates the order, upon conviction, is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

Executive Order #19 | Lodging & Travel Restrictions for Individuals from High-Risk Areas (Order Text)

  • Suspends short-term rentals and hotel rooms to individuals from CDC “hot spots” (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York).
  • Issued April 3, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified
  • The following are exempt:
    • Individuals operating commercial vehicles transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels and petroleum products (to include fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, and liquid petroleum), livestock, poultry, feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultural products ready to be harvested (to include timber and wood chips); individuals employed by airlines; and individuals otherwise engaged in commercial transportation activities.
    • Individuals performing or assisting with military, healthcare, public safety, or emergency response operations, as well as any other operations or services identified by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in its March 28, 2020 Memorandum, or any future amendments or supplements thereto, as essential to continued critical infrastructure viability.
    • Section 2 of Executive Order No. 2020-14 (Self-Quarantine for Individuals from High-Risk Areas) is modified to clarify that the provisions thereof shall not apply to individuals performing or assisting with the operations above.

Executive Order #18 | Closure of Additional Non-Essential Businesses (Order Text)

  • Expands the list of businesses deemed “nonessential” with an effective closure date of Monday, April 6, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and lasts for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified
  • The following businesses have been added:
    • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
    • Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
    • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
    • Department stores, with the exception of hardware and
    • home-improvement stores
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Book, craft, and music stores
    • Flea markets
    • Florists and flower stores
  • This order does not prohibit the continued operation of retail stores for the limited purpose of fulfilling online/telephone orders or providing alternate means of purchasing or delivering products or services—to include curbside purchase, pickup, or delivery and home or off-site delivery—provided that such options or measures can be implemented in a manner that facilitates and maintains effective “social distancing” and is consistent with any applicable guidance issued by state and federal public health and safety officials.

Executive Order #17 | Closure of Non-Essential Businesses (Order Text)

  • Issued March 30, 2020, became effective April 1, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and lasts for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified
  • The following nonessential businesses are required to close:
    • Section 1. Closure of Non-Essential Businesses, Venues, Facilities, Services, and Activities for Public Use
      • Effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., the following “non-essential” businesses, venues, facilities, services, and activities shall be closed to non-employees and shall not be open for access or use by the public—to include members, if access or use is ordinarily restricted to or based on membership—or shall not take place, as applicable:
      • Entertainment venues and facilities as follows: (a) Night clubs (b) Bowling alleys (c) Arcades (d) Concert venues (e) Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers (f) Tourist attractions (including museums, aquariums, and planetariums) (g) Racetracks (h) Indoor children’s play areas, with the exception of licensed childcare facilities (i) Adult entertainment venues (j) Bingo halls (k) Venues operated by social clubs
      • Recreational and athletic facilities and activities as follows: (a) Fitness and exercise centers and commercial gyms (b) Spas and public or commercial swimming pools (c) Group exercise facilities, to include yoga, barre, and spin studios or facilities (d) Spectator sports (e) Sports that involve interaction in close proximity to and within less than six (6) feet of another person (f) Activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment (g) Activities on commercial or public playground equipment
      • Close-contact service providers as follows: (a) Barber shops (b) Hair salons (c) Waxing salons (d) Threading salons (e) Nail salons and spas (f) Body-art facilities and tattoo services (g) Tanning salons (h) Massage-therapy establishments and massage services
    • Section 2. Clarification and Provisional Determination Process
      • The South Carolina Department of Commerce (“Department”), in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General of South Carolina (“Attorney General”), will provide or issue any necessary and appropriate supplemental guidance, rules, regulations, or restrictions regarding the application of this Order and to provide clarification, as necessary and appropriate and in accordance with the process set forth below, regarding whether a specific business, venue, facility, service, or activity is required to close or is prohibited from taking place pursuant to this Order.
      • An individual or entity may submit requests for clarification or a determination regarding the applicability of the order to a specific business, venue, facility, service, or activity to the Department using a form provided by the Department, which shall be available for public access and submission via the Department’s website, at www.sccommerce.com. Individuals or entities may also submit questions or requests for clarification to the Department by email to covid19sc@sccommerce.com or by telephone at 803-734-2873.

Executive Order #16 | Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters (Order Text)

  • Issued March 30, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified
  • Section 1. Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches and Waters
    • Order all public beach access points, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency.
    • Order all public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing public access to the public waters of this State, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency. Furthermore, a prohibition on beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island, is prohibited for the duration of the State of Emergency.
    • Vessels must remain underway at all times unless exigent circumstances exist. Anchoring to fish is allowed; however, rafting is prohibited under all circumstances. This order does not apply to individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit to the extent such individuals may seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities.
    • This order does not enlarge or infringe upon the existing rights of individuals to access the navigable waters of this State or the rights of owners of private property adjacent to the public beaches or public waterways of this State; however, any such individuals are still subject to the provisions of prior and future Orders, to include Executive Order No. 2020-13, as extended by Executive Order No. 2020-15, which expressly authorizes any and all law enforcement officers of the State, or any political subdivision thereof, to prohibit or disperse any congregation or gathering of people, unless authorized or in their homes, in groups of three (3) or more people, if any such congregation or gathering is deemed to pose, or could pose, a threat to public health.

Executive Order #15 | State of Emergency (Order Text)

  • Issued March 28, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts 15 days
  • Clarifies the terms of several previously issued executive orders – to include dates and other provisions
  • Section 1. Emergency Measures – Similar to Previous Orders
    • The State of South Carolina must take additional proactive action, minimize the resulting strain on healthcare providers, and otherwise respond to and mitigate the significant impacts associated with COVID-19;
    • Memorialize and confirm the activation of the Emergency Plan and direct that the Plan be further placed into effect and the continued utilization to address the current State of Emergency;
    • DHEC is vested with emergency powers set forth in the Emergency Health Powers Act, and without limiting the powers DHEC already possesses to combat infectious diseases, to promptly and effectively address the cited public health emergency;
    • DHEC to restrict visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with the exception of end-of-life situations, as DHEC deems necessary and appropriate;
    • Direct state correctional institutions and local detention facilities to suspend visitation processes and procedures;
    • Specified units of the National Guard are placed on State Active Duty;
    • All licensing and registration requirements regarding private security personnel or companies who are contracted with South Carolina security companies in protecting property and restoring essential services in South Carolina shall be suspended, and SLED will initiate an emergency registration process for those personnel or companies;
    • Prohibitions against price gouging;
    • Declare that the provisions of the following Orders shall remain in effect in accordance with their respective terms for the duration of the State of Emergency (unless modified): Executive Order Nos. 2020-07, 2020-09, 2020-10, 2020-11, 2020-12, 2020-13, and 2020-14.
  • Section 2. School Closures – Public Schools and State Higher Education Facilities are Closed through April and the duration of the State of Emergency
    • Authorize school districts to make any necessary and appropriate decisions or arrangements to account for local needs and other unique circumstances, to include establishing or maintaining means to deliver virtual instruction and remote learning and assisting with or facilitating the distribution of food and the delivery of nutritional services; and
    • Authorize all state-supported colleges, universities, and technical colleges to complete the spring 2020 academic semester by delivering virtual and remote learning, by housing only out-of-state or displaced students, and by restricting on-campus services and activities to emergency or other critical personnel.
  • Section 3. Protection of First Responders
    • The State of South Carolina must promptly undertake and implement additional proactive measures to safeguard the health and safety of law enforcement authorities and other first responders;
    • Authorize and direct any and all 911 operators or other emergency dispatchers to ask any individual placing a call for service whether such individual or any member of their household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms consistent with the same; and
    • Authorize and instruct DHEC, upon consultation with SLED, to provide any necessary and appropriate supplemental guidance regarding the interpretation, application, or enforcement of this Section.
  • Section 4. Transportation Waivers
    • Amend Executive Order No. 2020-07, as modified by Executive Order No. 2020-08, pursuant to 49 C.F.R. § 390.23 and section 56-5-70 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, to extend the provisions to commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles operating in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Expanded Emergency Declaration Under 49 C.F.R. § 390.23 No. 2020-002 (Relating to COVID-19), responding to the declared emergency in the State of South Carolina, or otherwise assisting with the public health threat posed by COVID-19, as well as to commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels and petroleum products (to include fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, and liquid petroleum), livestock, poultry, feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultural products ready to be harvested (to include timber and wood chips).
  • Section 5. Enforcement
    • Authorize law enforcement officers to do whatever may be deemed necessary to maintain peace and good order during the State of Emergency and to enforce the provisions of this Order and any prior or future orders;
    • Criminal penalty for failure to disperse: violation of the order may result in a misdemeanor charge and, upon conviction, a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days; and
    • Authorize DHEC to exercise and utilize any and all necessary and appropriate emergency powers, as set forth in the Emergency Health Powers Act.

Executive Order #14 | Self-Quarantine for Individuals from High-Risk Areas (Order Text)

  • Issued March 27, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified
  • Requires self-quarantine for individuals entering South Carolina from “High-Risk” areas, which include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans.
  • The order does not apply to individuals employed by airlines and individuals performing or assisting with military, healthcare or emergency response operations.
  • The order comes with the enforcement of criminal penalty: violation of the order may result in a misdemeanor charge and, upon conviction, a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days.
  • In addition, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is directed to provide supplemental guidance regarding the interpretation, application or enforcement of the order.

Executive Order #13 | Authorizing Law Enforcement to Preserve Public Health (Order Text)

  • Issued March 23, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified

Executive Order #12 | Regulatory Flexibility to Facilitate “Social Distancing” (Order Text)

  • Issued March 21, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified

Executive Order #11 | Directing Additional Emergency Measures (Order Text)

  • Issued March 19, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified

Executive Order #10 | Directing Additional Emergency Measures (Order Text)

  • Issued March 17, 2020, became effective immediately and, with the exception of Sections 4 and 5, lasts 30 days

Executive Order #9 | Closing Schools, Other Provisions (Order Text)

  • Issued March 15, 2020 and became effective immediately

Executive Order #8 | Declaring State of Emergency (Order Text)

  • Issued March 13, 2020, became effective immediately and lasts for 15 days

Executive Order #7 | Lifting Transportation Restrictions (Order Text)

  • Issued March 11, 2020, became effective immediate and lasts for 30 days or until the North Carolina State of Emergency is terminated, whichever is less

South Carolina COVID-19 Resources