Gov. Henry McMaster announced today that previously recommended guidelines for restaurants and attractions to slow the spread of COVID-19 will be mandatory. The new executive order will go into effect Aug. 3.
This mandate will require restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity, employees and patrons will be required to wear masks, tables must be spaced 6 feet apart and no more than eight customers may sit at a table unless they are from the same family.
Many of the governor’s orders Wednesday are already covered by local government measures in the Charleston area.
Other types of business and events that have previously been closed will be allowed to reopen while following guidelines include concerts, theaters, stadiums, gyms and parks.
Guidelines for specific facilities are outlined by AccelerateSC
The governor also encouraged citizens wear face coverings and called on local municipalities to enact face mask ordinances, again stopping short of a statewide ordinance.
"It needs to be enforce by the local authorities,” he said.
"When we have to really bear down, it's going to be a multitude of local authorities who do that," he said. "This is not an air war, this is a ground war. And we have to have hundreds but thousands of troops on the ground if it gets to that."
Beginning Aug. 5, face masks must be worn in all state government buildings.
The City of Charleston, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and Summerville have passed face mask mandates. Charleston County passed its mask ordinance on July 2.
The city also implemented stricter safety measures July 15 that limited capacity at bars and restaurants, and allowed those businesses to deny service to customers violating the face mask ordinance.
As of Wednesday, 11,111 cases of COVID-19 and 144 deaths have been reported in Charleston County. S.C. has seen 85,423 total cases of the disease.