Speaker Lucas has called the House of Representatives to meet at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

The House is coming into session to address two items:
(1) a Continuing Resolution to provide for the continued operation of state government beginning July 1; and,
(2) a Sine Die Resolution.

Gov. Henry McMaster Orders Non-Essential Businesses Closed Throughout S.C.

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 as follows:

Entertainment venues and facilities as follows:

  • Night clubs
  • Bowling alleys
  • Arcades
  • Concert venues
  • Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers
  • Tourist attractions (including museums, aquariums, and planetariums)
  • Racetracks
  • Indoor children’s play areas (excluding daycare facilities)
  • Adult entertainment venues
  • Bingo halls
  • Venues operated by social clubs

Recreational and athletic facilities and activities as follows:

  • Fitness and exercise centers and commercial gyms
  • Spas and public or commercial swimming pools
  • Group exercise facilities, to include yoga, barre, and spin studios or facilities
  • Spectator sports
  • Sports that involve interaction with another person in close proximity and within less than six (6) feet of another person
  • Activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
  • Activities on commercial or public playground equipment

Close-contact service providers as follows:

  • 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

Clarification Assistance Provided by the South Carolina Department of Commerce

If a business has a question as to whether they qualify as essential, they should complete the Essential Business Clarification form located on the South Carolina Department of Commerce website, which will be easily accessible on the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s website. Questions can also be sent to [email protected], or business representatives can call 803-734-2873. A team from the South Carolina Department of Commerce will review the business’s request for clarification, and the business will receive a response with their determination, essential or non-essential, within 24 hours. If a business is not explicitly addressed in the governor’s executive order, the business should continue normal operations until a determination is made.

The following general questions relate to the March 30, 2020 Executive Order 2020-16 issued by the Governor of South Carolina and the general responses below are provided as practical guidance by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) in consultation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). The responses below are based on the current situation and are subject to change pursuant to further changes in law, regulations, orders, etc.

The Executive Order and others are available here:

https://governor.sc.gov/executive-branch/executive-orders.

  • What has been closed with the newest executive order?

Any public beach access and parking areas and other public facilities associated with the access points have been closed. Public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing public access to the public waters of this State, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency. This does not apply to individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit to the extent such individuals seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities.

  • How long will this executive order last?


This order will last until the current State of Emergency ends, or until otherwise rescinded by the Governor.

  • Does that include the landings within SCDNR Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) and Heritage Preserve (HP) lands? What about State Lakes?

Yes, this executive order closes landings within all SCDNR WMA and HP lands, as well as on the 18 state lakes. This does not apply to individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit to the extent such individuals seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities.

  • Does this order apply to privately-owned ramps?

No, this order does not close privately-owned ramps or docks.

  • Is a private neighborhood dock considered public under this order?

No, this order does not close privately-owned ramps or docks.

  • Can I just buy a commercial fishing licenses so I can fish?

The executive order does not prohibit fishing but it does restrict access to public facilities for recreational purposes. The executive order states that all public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing public access to the public waters of this State, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency. Anchoring to fish in a boat is allowed, subject to the provisions of the Governor’s previous Executive Orders limiting congregation to groups of three or less. Rafting and beaching are prohibited under all circumstances. In order to meet the exemption to access a public boat facility or pier, an individual must both possess a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit and must seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities.

  • I don’t have a boat and only go to the landings to bank fish. Is that still okay?

The executive order does not prohibit fishing but it does restrict access to public facilities for recreational purposes. If it is a public facility, it is closed for recreational purposes. The executive order states that all public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing public access to the public waters of this State, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency. The prohibition does not apply to individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit to the extent such individuals seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities. The closure does not affect privately owned facilities. The Governor’s previous Executive Orders prohibiting congregation in groups of three or more still applies.

  • I have a boat and I just want to fish. Is that allowed?

The executive order does not prohibit fishing, but it does restrict access to public facilities for recreational purposes. The executive order states that all public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing public access to the public waters of this State, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency. This does not apply to private facilities. Anchoring to fish in a boat is allowed, subject to the provisions of the Governor’s previous Executive Orders enforcing social distancing guidelines. Rafting and beaching whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island is prohibited.

  • Does this order apply to fishing piers?

The executive order applies to publicly owned or controlled fishing piers. This does not apply to privately owned facilities. All public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing public access to the public waters of this State, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency.

  • Does this apply to fishing charters?

The executive order does not prohibit fishing but it does restrict access to public facilities for recreational purposes. The prohibition does not apply to individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit to the extent such individuals seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities. The Governor’s previous Executive Orders enforcing social distancing guidelines still apply.

  • Can I put my boat in and stay by the sandbar?

No. Beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island is prohibited. Vessels must remain underway at all times unless exigent circumstances exist, or unless anchoring to fish. The Governor’s previous Executive Orders enforcing social distancing guidelines still apply.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the South Carolina House of Representatives and please feel free to contact me via email at [email protected] or my 24-hour phone line at 331-8468.