By Patrick Phillips | May 4, 2020 at 7:34 AM EDT - Updated May 4 at 7:56 AM
C OLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Gov. Henry McMaster’s order limiting people to travel only to work, family or essential businesses like grocery stores has been lifted as of Monday.
Restaurants will be allowed to serve people at outdoor tables as long as strict distancing rules are followed. Outdoor dining can resume with strict limits of eight people to a table.
This is in addition to existing take out, curbside and delivery services.
The order, which originally went into effect April 7, stipulated that people stay home unless they are going to work, are visiting family, exercising or getting essential goods or services like grocery or pharmacy items. McMaster says this will now be voluntary.
He has also removed the restrictions for short term rentals on people coming from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and New Orleans.
The governor said Friday he announced the lifting of these restrictions based on data from DHEC and the compliance of South Carolinians for orders he had previously issued. He said he hopes to make more decisions on the state soon.
Restrictions regarding close contact businesses like gyms and hair salons are still in place. McMaster said the state is currently gathering information and data to make the decision on reopening those businesses.
“I’d like to be able to make [those decisions] today and say the virus was gone,” McMaster said."But unfortunately, we can’t say that. We are constantly trying to determine the best and the earliest moment to remove the remaining restrictions."
McMaster’s announcement Friday came the same day that state parks reopened along with a number of hotels along the coast and beaches that had been closed for over a month.
The governor promised to keep listening to health officials as he decides what to reopen.
Several state parks in South Carolina quickly reached capacity Sunday on the first weekend they were open after a lengthy closure because of the coronavirus.
The state parks department said on its Facebook page that Jones Gap, Paris Mountain and Table Rock were among a dozen parks that had reached capacity as of the afternoon.
State health officials, meanwhile, reported an additional 141 cases of the virus and eight deaths. That brings the state’s case total to a little more than 6,600, with 275 deaths.
Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
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