Gov. McMaster toughens restaurant rules; theaters, stadiums OK to reopen

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) – Gov. Henry McMaster is toughening some requirements in South Carolina to combat COVID-19 while allowing more businesses and venues to reopen next week.

In a press conference Wednesday, McMaster announced that starting next week, face coverings will be mandatory in all state government buildings.

He’s said in recent weeks that he can’t issue a statewide mandatory mask order because it’s unenforceable. But he strongly recommended municipalities to take action requiring masks and face coverings on a local level.

“This is a time for local leadership. Local leadership is the answer to where we are going,” McMaster said. “We are hoping for the best but we need to prepare for the worst.”

Starting Monday, restaurant guidelines first established by AccelerateSC, the state’s COVID-19 task force, will be required by law.

“There are some people who have not gotten the message who need to be reminded so this is now mandatory,” McMaster said.

This crackdown means employees and patrons will be required to wear a mask or face covering in addition to the following:

  • Operating dine-in services at no more than 50% of the certificate of occupancy issued by the fire marshal.
  • Tables are to be spaced to keep diners at least six feet apart.
  • No more than 8 customers per table unless from the same family.
  • Standing or congregating in bar area of restaurant is prohibited.

Establishments that possess a state permit to sell alcohol will also be subject to these restrictions.

McMaster has also given other businesses, venues and events the green light.

Effective Monday, festivals, parades, concerts, theaters, stadiums, arenas, coliseums, auditoriums, grandstands, amphitheaters, gymnasiums, concert halls, dance, halls, performing arts centers, parks, racetracks to operate. They are required to implement AccelerateSC guidelines, including the following:

  • Attendance may not exceed 50% of the certificate of occupancy issued by the fire marshal – or 250 persons – whichever is less.
  • Require the wearing of masks or face coverings as a condition of admission or participation
  • Enact social distancing, cleaning and hygiene practices as recommended by AccelerateSC
  • End the sale of alcohol at 11:00 p.m.

“I hereby authorize and direct and county or city official — any officer — to enforce the provisions I have outlined and any prior or future orders issued in connection with this,” McMaster said, adding that violating the order is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not more than $100 or 30 days in jail.

To review guidelines from AccelerateSC, visit here.

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