By Live 5 Web Staff | April 27, 2020 at 5:38 AM EDT - Updated April 27 at 9:24 AM
GREER, S.C. (WCSC/WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster says he will extend South Carolina’s State of Emergency for 15 more days in an announcement that is expected some time Monday.
By doing so, Governor’s Office spokesman Brian Symmes says every executive order the Governor has issued throughout this crisis will be kept in place,which includes the statewide “home or work order” he issued April 6.
“The governor’s executive order state of emergency declaration, by law can last 15 days,” Symmes says. “He has declared two states of emergency so far based on different facts and different figures.”
But at any time, McMaster has the right to rescind any of the individual executive orders, Symmes said. Unless and until he does, all existing orders will carry over automatically into the new state of emergency.
“And he will do so if and when it is in the best interest of the health and the well-being of the people of South Carolina,” Symmes said.
Symmes said the Governor’s Office is working with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to develop guidelines and the state’s plans to be able to open “close contact” service providers like hair and nail salons.
“As soon as we possibly can, while keeping people safe,” Symmes said. “So we are actively working that issue.”
Symmes said they do not have a specific timetable ready to announce so far, adding that McMaster recognizes fully that small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy.
McMaster was on hand Sunday as a Boeing Dreamlifter arrived at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airportwith 1.5 million surgical. The governor told reporters COVID-19 is still a threat.
“We are not out of this yet. We went into this in a smart way with targeted hot spots, so we do not have the burden that some of the other states have with business closures. But we are still facing a very serious disease and contagion,” McMaster said.
McMaster said “we’ll see” when asked about lifting or adding new restrictions on businesses, and said he is waiting to hear plans from his Accelerate SC Task Force, which is meeting this week.
However, McMaster did say he expects to reopen the economy similarly to how it closed.
“What we did when we restricted places was not whether they were non-essential, but whether they were hot spots,” he said. “They are the ones with close personal contacts like barbershops and beauty salons or places where people touch the same articles over and over like shoe shops or jewelry stores.“
McMaster’s tone was hopeful, he said he believes rates of infection won’t spike again because his team and the people of South Carolina are better informed now than they were almost two months ago.
“Slow and steady always wins the race. We follow the old carpenter’s rule which is measure twice and cut one. The step we took in restricting businesses when reacting to the virus were measured and deliberate. And we are going to go out the same way,” he said.
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