South Carolina issues 'home or work' order

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued a “home or work” order Monday after increasing pressure from public health officials over the coronavirus pandemic.

The order requires residents to stay at home or work unless visiting family, exercising, or getting essential goods or services, including food and medicine. McMaster said during a press briefing that the order will go into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m.

He said he was issuing the “mandatory order” because too many people are “on the roads,” “on the waters” or “in the stores” — not complying with social distancing recommendations. 

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“We’ve asked. We’ve urged. We’ve suggested,” McMaster said at the briefing. “But the last week or so has shown that it’s not enough. The rate of infection is on the rise, and the rate of noncompliance is on the rise.”

McMaster said any violation could result in a misdemeanor charge, including 30 days in jail and/or a $100 fine for each day of violation.

The Republican governor said no additional businesses will close. But the retail stores that remain open will need to limit the number of customers to no more than five for every 1,000 square feet or 20 percent of the capacity, whichever is the smaller number. 

South Carolina is one of the final states to issue a version of a stay-at-home order, with eight other states remaining: Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas, according to The New York Times. It is the last East Coast state to implement such an order. 

Surgeon General Jerome Adams addressed the remaining governors on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, requesting that they at least “give us a week” so “we don’t overwhelm our health care systems over this next week.”

The state has documented 2,232 positive cases of COVID-19 and 48 deaths, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.