SC governor says indoor dining at restaurants, bars can happen May 11

Updated: May. 9, 2020 at 12:03 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster has announced he will soon allow indoor dining at restaurants in South Carolina.

The governor Friday said he’s starting Phase 2 of reopening restaurants.

It allows indoor dining at bars and restaurants, but only at 50% capacity of the number of people allowed in each establishment.

That begins Monday, May 11, the governor said.

LIVE: Gov. Henry McMaster has an update to share about the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak. He could talk about the reopening of indoor dining and other businesses. MORE >> Get the earliest breaking news alerts on your phone with the WIS 10 News app >>

Posted by WIS TV on Friday, May 8, 2020

Social distancing will be required and there are extensive regulations regarding how restaurants operate, the governor said.

To read the guidelines for reopening indoor dining, click or tap here.

“People must continue wearing a mask and practicing social distancing,” Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist said. “If not, they put themselves and others at risk.”

“These recommendations, these policies, these suggestions are comprehensive. They are well thought out,” added McMaster.

Bell said health officials are worried the virus could make a resurgence in the state if social distancing guidelines are not followed as businesses reopen.

McMaster also lifted all regulations about boating in the state effective Friday.

However, the order allowing police officers to arrest people who pose a public health threat in groups of three or more still stands, the governor said.

The governor said he hopes to address reopening close-contact businesses on Monday. Those businesses include hair salons, barbershops, gyms and similar places.

McMaster lifted the state’s mandatory ‘home or work’ order Monday, May 4. That was also the day he began allowing outdoor dining at restaurants across the state.

The governor said that was going well and it led him to announce Phase 2 allowing indoor dining.

As of Friday, a total of 7,367 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina since the start of the outbreak. Of those, 320 have died.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) estimates that of those who have not died, about 81% of people who tested positive have recovered at this point.

That would mean more than 5,700 people have recovered while about 1,300 people are still fighting the virus.

Most people who get the virus do not need hospital care, but some people with serious cases do.

Hospitalization rates in the state have stayed fairly steady throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. There are more than 50% of hospital beds in use in South Carolina now.

This story will be updated.

Daily Coronavirus Cases - 5/8/2020
Daily Coronavirus Cases - 5/8/2020((Source: WIS))

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is spread mainly from person-to-person by those in close contact, or through coughing and sneezing by someone who’s infected.

Symptoms of the coronavirus can show up between two and 14 days of exposure, health officials say. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But some severe cases can lead to death.

Most people can recover from the virus at home using over-the-counter medications to treat their symptoms.

Those who are at the highest risk of developing severe case of COVID-19 are the elderly and those who are already being treated for chronic medical diseases.

Young people who contract the virus are not likely to have a serious case, research shows. However, the CDC said about 40% of people who needed to be hospitalized due to the coronavirus are between the ages of 20 and 54.

Those who are hospitalized with serious cases of COVID-19 have trouble breathing, and many need support from ventilators, which breathe for them. The U.S. is working to produce more of the machines to prepare, but experts fear a shortage of the life-saving devices.

The mortality rate for people with the virus has been widely reported around 2 to 3%, but health experts note the actual percentage is not that high, as not all cases are diagnosed or reported.

The rate is higher than the flu, which kills on average about 0.1% of people who get it, based on a 10-year average of data from the CDC.

Anyone with concerns about their health, or who believes they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider. Avoid going to the doctor or an emergency room unless the situation is life-threatening.

People without a doctor can take advantage of free online screening from Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

MUSC has an online platform to aid with coronavirus diagnosis and care. Go to and access the COVID-19 platform. The service is free with code: COVID19.

Prisma Health also has a free virtual visit, which allows patients to video conference with a doctor instead of coming into a facility. The goal is to keep patients who don’t need to be treated at a hospital at home. Go to and use promo code COVID19 for a free virtual visit.

For more information on COVID-19, click or tap here to visit the CDC’s website.

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