COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – During a Monday afternoon press conference from the state’s emergency preparedness division, Governor Henry McMaster said the idea of issuing ‘shelter in place’ order is not off the table and urged citizens to stay home.
“All plans and contingencies are on the table. We’re not ruling anything in except those we’ve already ruled in and we’re not ruling anything out,” he said. “That includes something that has been asked by many, shelter in place, which is a ‘stay home’ shelter in place order that we have not issued.”
McMaster said that was a drastic action and hopes that it will not be necessary.
“Many South Carolinians are taking precautions that will render that unnecessary,” said Gov. McMaster. “They are staying home, they are using good personal hygiene, they are washing their hands, cleaning surfaces and not touching their nose, mouth and eyes, and using good common sense.”
For everyone currently staying at home and keeping a social distance and keeping everyone else safe, Gov. McMaster said ‘thank you very much.’ He went on to say, “We appreciate it and encourage you to continue to do it, do it with more vigor in attempt to set as good an example as you can for all of our fellow citizens – our friends and neighbors.”
He said many people, though, are not using good common sense. “There are a lot of people that are congregating – you’re going to the beaches in big crowds, a lot of people going into the parking lots, a lot of people going to shopping centers,” he said. “That opens up all kinds of opportunities for the spread of this virus.
Gov. McMaster said that lack of discipline and consideration about the pandemic is what will result in the spread of the virus.
“I want to ask everyone to re-double their efforts to see that we do not jam people together,” he said. “We don’t have groups whether spontaneous or planned and not to put others in the immediate contact with this virus.”
Governor McMaster issued an order allowing law enforcement to prohibit or disperse any congregation or gathering of people, unless authorized in their homes, in groups of three or more if determined it poses a risk to the public.
Still, Gov. McMaster says South Carolina is making great progress as it combats the coronavirus pandemic. “We are coming together in a way that we see in these emergency situations and it’s comforting to see it happening again with this unprecedented situation and unprecedented emergency.”
Gov. McMaster said 15,238 state employees are now working from home with 15,812 still working in offices as normal. “We are hoping that we can move that 50/50 percentage up to 75% working at home in the next two weeks or so,” he said before encouraging private employers to follow the state’s example. “We know that this makes a difference.”