CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston has passed an ordinance directing residents to stay at home for two weeks except for necessary trips to the grocery store and other essential activities.
On Tuesday night, city councilmembers voted 9-4 on the “stay at home” ordinance which also orders city residents not to congregate in the streets, sidewalk, or public spaces except for the purposes of working at or conducting business at essential services.
Essential services include grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, child care services and restaurants/bars (but only for take-out or delivery). A full list of essential services can be found at the end of this story.
The ordinance also requires the closing of “non-essential" businesses. The ordinance is set to go into effect on Thursday at 12:01 a.m.
“This action would last for a period of 14 days, and would be taken under the city’s broad emergency authority to protect public health and safety during times of emergency,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said.
On Tuesday night, and in a virtual Charleston City Council meeting, leaders debated to temporarily close non essential businesses and ask the public to stay home.
“Directing our citizens to stay at home except for necessary trips to the grocery store, the pharmacy, and other essential services and activities,” Tecklenburg said.
Those services include medical facilities, banks, gas stations and convenience stores. Trash collection and city operation will continue, and restaurants serving take out will still be allowed to open.
Councilmember Marie Delcioppo was opposed to the ordinance and thought it was too soon.
“I feel like this is jumping the gun and putting us in a position where it’s going to be very, very hard in a way for us to manage and come back from,” she said.
The chief of police said as of right now, they’re asking for people to voluntarily comply.
But if necessary, they will enforce orders to break up large groups.
“While our people are hunkered down at home, we are out in the community,” said Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds.”So we are going to be out and we are going to be vigilant and we’re going to keep our community safe.”
Charleston County officials said they have no immediate plans to follow the city’s lead in unincorporated areas.
Below is a list of essential services in the City of Charleston.