CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster has announced that recommended guidelines for restaurants and other establishments that attract groups of people are now mandatory which includes employees and patrons being required to wear face masks.
Guidelines that had been previously recommended that will become mandatory on Monday, Aug. 3 include 50% occupancy at dine-in services, tables spaced at least 6-feet apart, and no standing or congregating in the bar area of a restaurant.
Establishments that have a state permit to sell alcohol will also have to follow these restrictions.
The governor said on Wednesday that he made these recommendations mandatory after receiving reports of non-compliance.
“There’s some people who have not gotten the message, who need to be reminded. So, this is now mandatory,” McMaster said.
In addition, state government officials said the following establishments will be required to implement AccelerateSC guidelines: festivals, parades, concerts, theaters, stadiums, arenas, coliseums, auditoriums, grandstands, amphitheaters, gymnasiums, concert halls, dance, halls, performing arts centers, parks, racetracks, or similarly operated entities.
Those guidelines include 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 PM
During a press conference on Wednesday, the governor pointed out that these mandatory guidelines would also include high school football games which can be played following approval by state officials due to the restrictions on attendance.
“High school football games will be able to be played If the high school league plan is approved by the Department of Commerce, because of course that will be more than 250 people,” McMaster said.
“These limited restrictions are temporary, they are measured, and they are targeted towards what we know works,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “These measures give South Carolina the best chance to slow the spread of the virus without shutting down the state’s economy – which we cannot and will not do – as many continue to call for.”
All AccelerateSC guidelines, which also cover restaurants and businesses, can be found here.
The governor also ordered that face coverings must be worn in all state government buildings. That mandate takes effect on Aug. 5.
McMaster is also encouraging local governments to adopt face covering ordinances.
“I’m also calling on local leadership,” he said. ”This is a time for local leadership. Local leadership is the answer to where we are going. We’re hoping for the best, but we need to prepare for the worst. And the way to prepare for the worst is to have local leadership involved in stopping the spread.”
Earlier this afternoon, state health officials reported 1,666 new cases of COVID-19 and 48 additional deaths in South Carolina.
Charleston County had the most reported cases on Wednesday with 214 cases.
Today’s update brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state to 85,423, and those who have died to 1,551, according to DHEC.
“We each have a role to play to reduce these high numbers and these deaths, and it really doesn’t require a lot,” said Dr. Linda Bell with DHEC. “The simple measures are wearing a mask and physically distancing from others when you’re outside your home.
As of Tuesday, a total of 734,149 tests have been conducted in the state.
The total number of individual test results reported to DHEC on Tuesday statewide was 8,360 (not including antibody tests) and the percent positive was 19.9%.
“More and more young people are testing positive, some don’t even show it, some don’t even know it,” McMaster said. “But they’re getting sick at a higher rate particularly recently, and who typically suffers is the older generations. So we’ve got to be real careful.”