COVID-19 Updates from the State of South Carolina and City of North Myrtle Beach
During the current state of emergency, the South Carolina Office of the Governor and the City of North Myrtle Beach have made emergency declarations to help protect and keep us all safe. Below you will find the latest, as well as archived, emergency declarations and statements.
As of March 26, 2021
City of North Myrtle Beach: Results of Special Called City Council Meeting
A motion to extend the City’s Declaration of State of Emergency and its Emergency Ordinance failed, and both will expire on March 28. Because it is tied to the Declaration and Emergency Ordinance, the City’s Ordinance #20-31 regarding face-coverings will also expire on March 28.
During the regularly scheduled April 5 City Council meeting, Council will consider adopting a Resolution encouraging everyone to continue to wear face-coverings, to practice social distancing when possible, to wash their hands regularly, and more.
City Council encourages everyone to be considerate of one another's needs in the COVID-19 environment, and to work to protect one another, regardless of one’s position on suggested COVID-19 guidelines.
As of March 10, 2021
City of North Myrtle Beach: COVID-19 Protocol Guidelines for Restaurants
The City has received calls from some North Myrtle Beach restaurant owners and managers asking for guidance on the City’s face-coverings ordinance as it applies to restaurants.
The SC Governor’s “Executive Order 2021-12 (March 5) Modifying & Amending Emergency Measures” in part moves what were once COVID-19 protocol requirements for restaurants to the category of guidelines. As a result, the portion of the City’s face-coverings ordinance that pertains specifically to restaurants also moves from a requirement to a guideline. The remainder of the City’s face-coverings ordinance remains in effect.
While the City of North Myrtle Beach encourage restaurants to continue to implement the Governor’s and the City’s COVID-19 guidelines, the decision to do so is up to each restaurant.
As of March 5, 2021
Gov. Henry McMaster Modifies Emergency Orders, Ensuring Continuity of Essential Government Operations
Governor Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2021-12, which modifies existing emergency orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic and begins the process of facilitating the return of the remaining state employees back to the workplace on a full-time basis.
The new Executive Order also rescinds previously mandatory face covering safety measures in state government offices, buildings, and facilities and authorizes the South Carolina Department of Administration to promulgate guidelines, in consultation with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, regarding the same (Section 2-B).
Additionally, the executive order recommends previously mandatory face covering safety measures in restaurants (Section 3-A).
For further details and to read the full press release, click here.
As of February 26, 2021
Gov. Henry McMaster to Lift ‘Last Call’ Order, Large Gatherings Approval Process
Governor Henry McMaster today announced that COVID-19 safety measures related to the sale of alcohol and mass gatherings will be terminated effective Monday, March 1, 2021. Restaurants may resume normal alcohol sales as licensed by the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Additionally, South Carolina Department of Commerce approval for events involving more than 250 people will no longer be required.
For information about how COVID-19 continues to impact South Carolinians, and the 30-day trends for “key indicators” visit SCDHEC’s website here.
South Carolinians are still strongly encouraged to take appropriate safety precautions, including practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings when social distancing is not possible.
While approval will no longer be required by the Department of Commerce, it is recommended that organizers of large gatherings implement the following, previously mandatory, safety guidelines:
- Limit attendance of large gatherings to either 50% of the event space’s posted occupancy limit or fewer than 250 people
- All employees, customers, patrons, suppliers, vendors, visitors or other people in attendance at a large gathering should wear a face covering
- Organizers, operators, owners, or hosts of a large gathering shall take reasonable steps to incorporate, implement, comply with, and adhere to any relevant sanitation, “social distancing,” and hygiene guidelines established by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health officials.
Events previously approved by the Department of Commerce that have not yet taken place are encouraged to follow the same guidelines.
To read the full press release, click here.
As of October 2, 2020
Gov. Henry McMaster Lifts Restaurant Occupancy Limits Statewide
Gov. Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2020-63, which lifts all occupancy limitations in restaurants throughout South Carolina, effective immediately. Previously, South Carolina’s restaurants were operating at 50% capacity. Now, they will be able to operate at 100% capacity.
Other restaurant safety guidelines – including the required use of face coverings for patrons and staff – remain in place for the time being. Additionally, the governor’s “last call order,” which doesn’t allow the sale or consumption of alcohol in restaurants after 11:00 PM, will remain in place until further notice.
“South Carolina is open for business” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Our state’s approach has been a measured, deliberate, and targeted one - aimed at keeping our economy open and our people safe.”
Other safety measures that are strongly encouraged, but are no longer required include the following:
- Restaurants should space indoor and outdoor tables 6 feet apart, to the extent possible.
- Restaurants should limit seating each table to no more than 8 customers and patrons, exclusive of family units or members of the same household.
- Restaurants should adopt and enforce a process to ensure that customers and patrons are able to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of separation from other parties while waiting to be seated.
- Restaurants should minimize, modify, or discontinue services that allow customers and patrons to fill or refill their own beverage cups.
As of August 17, 2020
DEHEC report for South Carolina cases by County & Zip Code lists Horry County as one of seven counties in the state downgraded to "medium" category. The link to the report below explains the metrics and categorizations for this determination.
As of July 29, 2020:
Gov. Henry McMaster Takes Additional Action to Slow Virus Spread
Gov. Henry McMaster announced that all previously recommended guidelines for restaurants and other establishments that attract groups of people are now mandatory. The governor’s Executive Order establishing these new measures will go into effect Monday, August 3.
Additionally, the governor continued his call for all South Carolinians to wear face coverings when appropriate, and he encouraged local governments to adopt face covering ordinances. The governor also ordered that face coverings must be worn in all state government buildings according to guidelines and procedures developed by the state Department of Administration, effective August 5th.
Other types of businesses, facilities, venues, events or mass gatherings which are permitted to open but are required to implement AccelerateSC guidelines include the following: festivals, parades, concerts, theaters, stadiums, arenas, coliseums, auditoriums, grandstands, amphitheaters, gymnasiums, concert halls, dance, halls, performing arts centers, parks, racetracks, or similarly operated entities.
Businesses, event organizers, and others responsible for events that may exceed the occupancy rules may receive clarification allowing the event to proceed if they can satisfactorily demonstrate an ability to comply with federal and state COVID-19 procedures and protocols to the Department of Commerce.
For the full press release, including each AccelerateSC guideline, click here.
JULY 10, 2020: Governor Henry McMaster has issued Executive Order 2020-43, which prohibits alcohol sales at bars and restaurants after 11 PM.
The governor’s order does not apply to alcohol sold at convenience or grocery stores, wine and liquor stores, or retail business.
The governor’s order does apply to any holder of the following licenses: On-Premises Beer and Wine Permit, Winery Permit, Brewpub Beer/Wine Permit, Brewery Permit, Business Liquor by the Drink License, Non-Profit Private Club Liquor by the Drink License, Special Event Permit, or Special Non-Profit Event Permit.
For the full press release announcement, please click here.
As of July 1, 2020:
The City of North Myrtle Beach has passed an Emergency Ordinance requiring face coverings under certain circumstances.
The ban requires people to wear face-coverings in public places including but not limited to retail business such as grocery stores and pharmacies, hair and nail salons, barbershops, and tattoo parlors.
The ban also requires that all employees of restaurants, retail establishments including but not limited to grocery stores and pharmacies, hair and nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, and all government offices in the city must wear a face-covering.
To read the Emergency Ordinance in its entirety and to read a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the face-covering ordinance, please click here.
As of June 12, 2020:
Governor Henry McMaster has issued Executive Order 2020-40, which declares a new state of emergency, allows bowling alleys to open immediately, and lifts restrictions on the occupancy of retail establishments.
The “Response” component of AccelerateSC, with advice and recommendations from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), have developed specific guidelines for how bowling alleys can safely operate.
These guidelines include, but are not limited to the following:
- Bowlers should be spread out on the lanes to ensure that they are 6 feet or more apart. This can be accomplished by either limiting the number of people on one lane at a time and/or having an empty lane in between each active one.
- Request that customers bring their own bowling balls and shoes, if they have them.
- Clean and disinfect bowling balls and shoes between users.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (bathroom doors, sink handles, chairs, etc.) routinely throughout the day.
- Provide hand sanitizer at each lane. Make disinfectant available to customers who want to disinfect their ball and lane.
- Disable video games, juke boxes, etc. OR clean and disinfect them between each user.
As of May 20, 2020:
Governor Henry McMaster today announced that attraction facilities will be permitted to open throughout South Carolina beginning Friday, May 22nd. The governor’s announcement comes after AccelerateSC has been meeting for nearly a month to determine the safest ways to reinvigorate the state’s economy.
The “Response” component of AccelerateSC has established exhaustive safety guidelines for businesses that have been allowed to reopen. Guidelines for attraction facilities can be found here and on the AccelerateSC website, along with guidelines for all recently re-opened businesses.
Examples of attraction facilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Historic buildings and sites
- Amusement park rides
- Go-Kart tracks
- Bingo facilities (specific guidelines can be found here)
- Miniature golf facilities
For the full press release announcement, click here.
As of May 11, 2020:
Governor Henry McMaster announced that close contact service providers, fitness and exercise centers, commercial gyms, and public or commercial pools will be able to open in a limited capacity on Monday, May 18.
Close contact service providers include the following businesses: Barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons and spas, body-art facilities and tattoo services, tanning salons, massage-therapy establishments and massage services.
Commercial gyms will include group exercise facilities such as yoga studios, barre classes, and others.
For the full press release, click here.
As of May 8, 2020:
Governor Henry McMaster has announced that restaurants throughout South Carolina will be allowed to reopen for limited dine-in services beginning on Monday, May 11.
Additionally, Governor McMaster announced that he has lifted all boating restrictions, as defined by Executive Order 2020-25, effective immediately. All laws and regulations concerning the safe operation of boats in South Carolina will now return to normal.
The governor’s announcement follows two weeks of meetings of accelerateSC – a group created by the governor to develop a coordinated economic revitalization plan which includes healthcare professionals, representatives from large and small businesses, local government officials, and education professionals.
The announcement also comes after the governor was joined by the state’s public health officials to announce a new statewide testing plan, which will dramatically increase the number of South Carolinians tested.
Based on advice and recommendations from the “Response” component of accelerateSC, which includes input from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (SCRLA), Governor McMaster has established guidelines for restaurants to follow if and when they choose to open for dine-in services. Those guidelines include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Only allow 50% of posted occupancy inside, as determined by fire marshals
- Tables should be spaced 6-8 feet apart
- Additional cleaning and sanitizing guidelines for equipment, tables, chairs, etc.
- Additional guidance for health checks for all employees
- Social distancing guidance for employees and customers, including recommended
As of May 1, 2020:
Governor Henry McMaster has announced that the statewide “Work-or-Home” order will be lifted and returned to voluntary status on Monday, May 4th. The governor also announced that beginning on May 4th, restaurants throughout South Carolina may provide outdoor customer dining services in addition to existing take out, curbside, and delivery services.
The governor also announced that he has lifted Executive Order 2020-19 because CDC guidance identifying “hotspots” throughout the country, which constituted the basis upon which short term rental companies were to deny reservations, has since lapsed and was not renewed. The governor has also lifted Executive Order 2020-14, which required individuals entering the state from the same “hotspots” to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Governor McMaster has established the following guidelines for restaurants to follow if they choose to open for outdoor seating.
Existing approved outdoor seating areas:
- Tables are to be spaced a minimum of 8 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table);
- Limit table groups to 8 individuals;
- Eliminate gatherings in the building when entering or exiting outdoor seating area;
- Maintain strict social/physical distancing guidelines;
- Tables, chairs, and seats should be sanitized after every customer
If open areas and/or temporary tents are utilized by existing, permitted restaurants, all sides of the tent must be open and the following conditions are required:
- Tables are to be spaced a minimum of 8 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table);
- Table groups are to be limited to 8 individuals;
- State-approved fire extinguisher within 75 feet of tent area;
- Minimum of 7-foot-6 inch headroom (ceiling height)
These guidelines, along with a list of frequently asked questions, can be found here.
For the full press release, click here.
As of April 20, 2020:
Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-28, which removes restrictions on public access points to the state’s beaches, public piers, docks, and wharfs, while delegating to local officials the authority to restrict access, as they see fit.
The City of North Myrtle Beach opened the public access points inside the city limits beginning at 12 noon, April 21st. At an afternoon report it was stated that there were an average of 10 cars per parking lot along the 9 miles of beach access and that social distancing was being enforced and that at that time people were observing the necessary precautions.
This order also re-opens retail stores that were closed pursuant to Executive Order 2020-18. The businesses to be reopened are as follows:
Furniture and home-furnishings stores:
- Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
- Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
- Department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores
- Sporting goods stores
- Book, craft, and music stores
- Flea markets
- Florists and flower stores
All other businesses previously closed by executive order will remain closed until further notice.
Under the order, retail stores re-opened April 20, at 5:00 p.m., but must adhere to strict social distancing requirements, operating at 20% occupancy or five (5) customers per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. In addition, businesses must not knowingly allow customers to congregate within six feet of one another, excluding families, and follow relevant CDC and DHEC guidelines.
Public boat ramps and boat landings were previously reopened pursuant to Executive Order 2020-25.
All other executive orders, including the Governor’s “Home or Work” order, remain in effect. South Carolinians should maintain social distancing practices and avoid large groups of people.
As of March 31, 2020:
Statement from Gov. McMaster: Governor Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2020-17, which orders the closure of non-essential businesses, as defined by the executive order, throughout the state in order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The businesses that will be closed as a result of the governor's executive order are here.
As of March 30, 2020:
The City Council for the City of North Myrtle Beach revises emergency ordinance prohibiting short-term rentals in order to, among other things:
Rental or use of short-term Rentals, including, but not limited to Hotels, Motels, Condo Hotels, Rental Properties, inclusive of private management companies and HOA's, Airbnb, VRBO style lodging, public and private campgrounds and other Overnight Accommodations shall be prohibited.
Beginning 7 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2020 through April 30, 2020 shall be prohibited.
Visitors currently checked-in prior to March 31, 2020 may remain as long as they are abiding by the Executive Order Number 2020-14 issued by Governor Henry McMaster to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Any violation of any rule or regulation issued and set forth herein shall be punishable as provided in the Code of Ordinance for the City of North Myrtle Beach, chapter 1, Section 1-6, General Penalty; each day of any violation shall constitute a separate offense. In addition, the business license issued to any person or entity who violates section 1 above shall be subject to suspension/revocation.
The full revised emergency order can be reviewed here.
As of March 30, 2020:
Statement from Gov. McMaster: As a result of behavior observed this past weekend by the Department of Natural Resources and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), it has become necessary to close public access to our state’s beaches, and close boat ramps and landings on our state’s lakes, rivers and waterways. The full executive order can be found here.
As of March 26, 2020:
The City Council for the City of North Myrtle Beach passed and approved an emergency ordinance in order to, among other things
suspend the rental and use of Short-Term Rentals, Hotels and other Overnight Accommodations for 29 days or less
Beginning 7:00 am on Friday, March 27, 2020 through April 30, 2020.
Visitors currently checked in may remain until the end of their existing reservations.
Rental and use of Short-Term Rentals, including, but not limited to Hotels, Motels, Condo Hotel, Rental Property, inclusive of private management companies and HOA's, Airbnb, VRBO style lodging, public and private campgrounds and other Overnight Accommodations.
Exempt: Short-Term Rentals extended to Government, Hospital, Health, Agency, Law Enforcement, Military, and other Critical Personnel actively responding to COVID-19.
For the full emergency ordinance, please review here.
As of March 20, 2020:
Statement by Gov. McMaster: A state of emergency exists in South Carolina to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. To save lives, I have directed SLED and local law enforcement to disperse crowds gathered on our state's beaches. Coastal residents can responsibly maintain social distance while enjoying our state's beaches.
That enforcement order declares that it is unlawful for a person to, “congregate, unless authorized or in their homes, in groups of three or more and to refuse to disperse upon order of a law enforcement officer.”
The full enforcement order can be read here.
As of March 17, 2020:
Gov. McMaster directed:
Restaurants and bars must close their dine-in service.
Organized events of more than 50 persons in a state, county, city, or other publicly-owned facility are prohibited, except for essential government functions
The entire Executive Order can be found here