SC governor orders beaches to close in the state

SC governor orders beaches to close in the state
© Greg Nash

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) closed all public accesses to beaches and waterways amid concerns of crowds gathering and raising the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The governor said on Twitter that "as a result of behavior observed this past weekend by the Department of Natural Resources and SLED [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] 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."

"This is unfortunate for those who chose to responsibly follow the instructions of our public health officials, but a necessary action to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus," he added.

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Executive Order No. 2020-16 will close public access points such as parking lots near state beaches and waterways, including “any and all public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings.”

But the order does not apply to those with a current and valid commercial fishing license and will not affect private property owners living on beaches, lakes or other water bodies.

Those violating the governor's order are subject to a fine of up to $100 or imprisonment of up to 30 days.

South Carolina has 925 identified cases of COVID-19, with 18 deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to a database from The New York Times.