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What you need to know about South Carolina’s ‘home or work’ order

home or work order
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CHStoday is working to keep you updated on the latest local news, announcements, + resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To find more of our coverage, click here.

Today, South Carolina will join 41+ other states that currently have some level of a stay at home order in place. It goes into effect Tuesday, April 7 at 5 p.m.

While Gov. McMaster issued several ordinances related to the pandemic – including one last week that directed all ‘non-essential businesses’ to close – until now, he’s stopped short of forcing all South Carolinians to stay at home.

What does it mean to stay at home?

Home = your current place of residence. It does not include hanging out at a friend’s place in your apartment complex. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part: Stay at home.

People who are currently experiencing homelessness are encouraged to contact their local government for assistance in acquiring safe shelter.

If – and only if – you have an emergency that renders your home uninhabitable or unsafe, you are then authorized to seek shelter in another safe and alternate location.

Can my business continue to operate?

If your business was identified as ‘essential’ by Gov. McMaster’s previous order, it can continue to operate. Essential businesses must, however, abide by the following rules:

It must limit the number of customers allowed to enter and occupy the premises so that it does not exceed 5 customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space, or 20% of the occupancy limit as determined by the fire marshal – whichever number is less.

It must prohibit customers from congregating within six feet with one another, with exception to family units traveling together. Pro tip: If you can make the trip alone, do it – the fewer people in your party, the safer.

It must implement all reasonable steps to comply with CDC, DHEC, + other federal public health guidelines.

Businesses are encouraged to utilize telecommuting or work-from-home options for employees when possible.

If your business was deemed ‘unessential,’ its doors should already be closed. Under this new order, though, retail stores can continue to fulfill online or telephone orders, and restaurants can continue to provide curbside pickup and delivery – provided that these offerings can be implemented in respect to ‘social distancing’ guidelines.

Click here for the full list of businesses considered ‘non-essential’.

What happens if I don’t obey this order?

Individuals who are found to be in violation of this order may be asked by law enforcement to disperse. If you fail to comply, you could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined up to $100 or jailed for up to 30 days.

What you can leave your home to do

○ Visit a business that is considered essential. Note: Don’t take this as a free pass to do an ‘essential biz’ crawl and hit up every grocery and hardware store in the tri-county. These measures are in place for a reason – try to limit your outings as much as possible, and when you do have to go out, try to travel alone or with as few people in your group as possible.

○ Care for or visit a family member at their home, provided you are adhering to ‘social distancing’ guidelines.

○ Go to work – if your employer is operating within the limits of the order, as outlined above.

○ Seek medical, behavioral health, or emergency care for yourself or someone in your immediate family or household.

○ Go outside, as long as the only people you’re with live in your household and you are keeping at least six feet of distance from those around you who are not in your household.

○ Attend religious services, though Gov. McMaster encourages everyone to attend services – including Easter services – online.

○ Travel to court proceedings, or transport children as required by court order or custody agreement.

○ Care for your pets, as long as you’re abiding by social distancing guidelines.

What you cannot leave your home to do

Hang out at a friend’s house.

Play a pick-up game of soccer or another close-contact sport with people outside of your household.

Go to work, if your business is among those forced to close.

Additional resources

The entirety of Gov. McMaster’s ‘stay at home’ order
Our list of the latest coronavirus updates + resources
DHEC’s guidelines for businesses and employers.
Details on Gov. McMaster’s closure of non-essential businesses (including a list of businesses deemed non-essential)
Charleston’s stay at home ordinance (issued in March, prior to the statewide order)



Find the correct answer in ‘The Wrap’ section of our April 7, 2020 newsletter.

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