Two days after Gov. Henry McMaster stood in front of a camera and conceded “there’s a lot of stupid floating out there,” and as COVID-19 cases pile up at a record pace, he has announced further relaxed restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the disease.
In a Friday morning press release from the governor’s office, McMaster announced that bowling alleys can operate with precautions and retail businesses can fully reopen without occupancy restrictions.
On Thursday, the state reported a whopping 687 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day total so far. MUSC’s Epidemiology Project that assesses the current virus situation in the Charleston area shows a red-level rating for sustained cases over a two-week period.
“There are over 400 active cases estimated to be in the community,” the latest report states. “This exceeds the highest value in the April of approximately 325 active cases during the peak in the Charleston [area].”
During Wednesday’s press conference, state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said, “I am more concerned about COVID-19 in South Carolina than I have ever been before.”
Asked on Wednesday if masks could be mandated for individuals or restaurant employees to help cut down coronavirus transmission, McMaster said the state is limited in what it can ask S.C. residents to do.
“Mandates, government intrusion … there’s a limit to how much the government can do,” McMaster said. “We cannot keep mandating things on the people.”
Several restaurants in Charleston that reopened since state-required closures have shut down again due to employees testing positive for COVID-19.
McMaster’s order Friday suggested, but not required, guidelines for safely operating bowling alleys and also extended the state of emergency in South Carolina.