South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is set Monday to issue executive orders allowing access to beaches, rivers, and lakes as well as reopening some stores.
The orders will allow people to shop at an array of stores, Trey Walker, McMaster’s chief of staff, told the Post and Courier, including clothing, jewelry, music, and book shops.
The reopening orders will be effective Tuesday.
Walker said the infection rates for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year, have dropped enough to loosen some of the restrictions ordered earlier in April to try to slow the spread of the illness.
The CCP virus causes COVID-19, a disease that kills a small percentage of patients, primarily among the infirm.
While beaches and stores will be reopened, authorities will continue enforcing social distancing measures. No groups larger than three people will be allowed on beaches and stores will have to limit the number of customers inside.
“The plan will begin with our retail shops and beaches and move into gear from there. Social distancing measures will continue to be required,” state Rep. Josiah Magnuson, a Republican who said he was briefed by the governor’s office, said in a social media statement.
Details will be announced at a press conference on Monday, Magnuson said.
Republican state Rep. Stewart Jones said he was also called by McMaster’s office regarding the plans.
“Retail will open Monday. I hope that EVERY small business is up and going again in South Carolina by the end of next week,” he wrote on Facebook.
McMaster ordered all beaches closed on March 30, along with public boat ramps and landings. Last week he issued an executive order reopening boat ramps, effective April 17.
McMaster is also considering lifting the mandated closures of personal care businesses such as salons and gyms, according to Walker.
South Carolina is under a stay-at-home order. Residents were ordered to not leave their home unless they were taking a so-called essential trip.
“Evidence is increasing about the high rates of infection in people who do not have symptoms and don’t know they are infectious. This places everyone at risk of getting the virus or unknowingly transmitting it to someone else. South Carolinians are encouraged to stay home and minimize contact with people outside their households to prevent the spread of the disease,” the state Department of Health and Environmental Control says on its website.
People should monitor themselves for symptoms, which are similar to the flu, wear a mask while out in public, and regularly wash their hands, according to authorities.
The department reported 136 new CCP virus cases on April 19, taking the state’s total to 4,377. Daily growth has slowed over the past week and nearly half of the hospital beds are available.
South Carolina reported one new death, with 120 individuals having died so far from COVID-19 in the state.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in recent days issued an order allowing local governments to reopen beaches, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced a reopening plan that will see all retail stores being able to operate, though no customers will be allowed inside buildings for the time being.