South Carolinians under ‘home or work’ order could face criminal charges for disobeying

Updated: Apr. 7, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, South Carolinians will officially be under a statewide mandate that Gov. Henry McMaster is calling a “home or work” order.

The governor says South Carolinians have been urged to stay home over the last several weeks. Now, he says it’s time to make this a requirement.

This order means unless you’re working, visiting family, picking up essential goods or services, or getting exercise outdoors you must stay home.

You could face a misdemeanor charge and 30 days in jail and/or a $100 fine for each day of violation.

The governor says no additional businesses will close, but retail stores that are still open also have a new mandate to follow. There can be no more than five customers for every 1,000 square feet, or 20% capacity, whichever is less.

After growing calls for McMaster to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, he says the science and data show now’s the time.

“Too many people are on the roads. Too many people are on the waters. Too many people are in the stores. Too many people are not complying with our requests concerning social distancing. We’ve asked, we’ve urged, 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,” said McMaster.

South Carolina will now join most other U.S. states that have issued similar mandates. This, after the governor says state leaders have realized simply urging residents to stay home was not working to slow the spread of coronavirus.

With the home or work order going into effect Tuesday evening, the governor is also offering suggestions for Easter Sunday services.

“We recommend that those services continue, of course, but we urge the churches and others to stream on the internet, if they can, to meet outdoors, if they can, and if they can’t do those, please provide for that social distancing in the church.”

During that same press conference, McMaster also said by the end of this week, he expects more than 200,000 South Carolinians will have applied for unemployment insurance.

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