Coronavirus 2020 Guidance

This page was last updated April 10 at 3:15 PM.

Important information about Coronavirus can be found below as well as links to additional resources.

For federal government resources and in-depth information about recently passed legislation, click here.

 

South Carolina Alerts

Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-21. The “home or work” order requires all citizens of South Carolina to STAY HOME unless they are working, obtaining necessary goods or services, visiting family or engaging in outdoor recreation. This is a mandatory requirement, with criminal penalties (30 days in jail and/or $100 fine for each day of violation). The order also includes social distancing requirements for businesses that remain open – they must operate at 20% capacity (maximum) or 5 people per 1,000 square feet. The order goes into effect Tuesday, April 7, at 5:00 p.m. The order was issued based on the advice of health experts, an increasing rate of infection and an ongoing lack of compliance with social distancing recommendations. The Governor also recommended that Easter services be held outdoors, via online streaming or that churches otherwise provide for social distancing.

All non-essential businesses in South Carolina are now closed until further notice as are public beaches and boat ramps. 

South Carolina K-12 schools and public colleges are closed through the month of April.

Governor McMaster has requested that all out-of-state visitors to South Carolina staying for two or more nights self-quarantine for two weeks immediately upon arrival.

Governor McMaster had issued an Executive Order directing the following:

  • All non-essential employees and staff of the State of South Carolina shall not report to work, physically or in-person, effective Friday, March 20, 2020, until futher notice. 
  • Public universities, colleges and technical colleges shall determine essential employees and allow all non-essential employees to work from home.
  • Employer unemployment insurance payments are suspended until June 1st to allow for employers to have capital on hand.
  • Unemployment claims have been expedited by up to one week.
  • South Carolina hosptials are resticting patient visitation to patients with the exception of end-of-life situations.
  • South Carolinians are urged to stay home if they are able.

 

Gatherings of 10 or more people are prohibited and travel should be restricted unless absolutely necessary.

Governor Henry McMaster has ordered all bars and restaurants end dine-in services beginning Wednesday, March 18. Takeout and curbside delivery can continue. 

For the most up to date information on COVID-19 in our state, visit the SCDHEC website: https://www.scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.

For the latest information on Governor McMaster’s Executive Orders, visit this website: https://governor.sc.gov/executive-branch/executive-orders.

 

The city of Columbia has imposed a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Wednesday, March 18. The curfew will last 61 days unless lifted earlier. This does not apply to “police officers, firefighters, active duty military, health care providers, and public works and utility workers employed by any public utility, the City of Columbia, the Counties of Richland and Lexington, and the State of South Carolina and the United States of America.”

 

How to Protect Yourself

  • Reduce contact with others by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you cannot wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick unless it is a medical emergency.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Wear a facemask if you ARE sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

 

What do I do if I think I’m sick?

  • Stay home if you only have mild symptoms.
  • Do not leave except for medical care.
  • Do not visit public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation.
  • Isolate yourself from people and pets in your home.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor: If you have a medical appointment, call your doctor’s office or emergency department, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
  • Wear a facemask if you are around other people and before entering a medical office.
  • Monitor your symptoms and seek medical right away if your illness is worsening (i.e. difficulty breathing).
  • If you have home isolated, you can end isolation if:
  • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours without the use of medication.
  • Other symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath have improved.
  • At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

 

Social Security Administration

Effective March 17, 2020, Social Security Offices Will Only Offer Phone Service

If you need help from Social Security:

  • Please use our secure & convenient online services available at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas), print a benefit verification letter, and much more – from anywhere and from any of your devices. If you cannot conduct your Social Security business online, please check our online field office locator for specific information about how to directly contact your local office. If you already have an in-office appointment scheduled, we will call you to handle your appointment over the phone instead. If you have a hearing scheduled, we will call you to discuss alternatives for continuing with your hearing, including offering a telephonic hearing. Our call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone. If you cannot complete your Social Security business online, please call our National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778

 

Veteran Affairs

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is in daily communication with VA leadership and would like to share the following information.

What should veterans do if they think they have COVID-19?

Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.

What about routine appointments and previously scheduled procedures?

VA is encouraging all veterans to call their VA facility before seeking any care—even previously scheduled medical visits, mental health appointments, or surgical procedures. Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet and find out whether they should still come in for their scheduled appointments.

Can visitors still access VA medical facilities?

Many VA medical facilities have cancelled public events for the time being, and VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to postpone their visits to local VA medical facilities. Upon arrival, all patients, visitors, and employees will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure.

What about VA nursing homes and spinal cord injury units?

On March 10, 2020, VA announced that its 134 nursing homes (also called VA community living centers) and 24 spinal cord injury and disorder centers would be closed to all outside visitors.

 

Additional Resources

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention offer extensive guidance on their website.

For more information about the House passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act, click here.

For more information about the CARES Act, click here.

For more information about the Emergency Paid Sick Leave policy in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, click here.

For general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls 8 a.m.-6 p.m. every day in English and Spanish.

The DHEC COVID-19 site at http://scdhec.gov/covid19 is being updated on an ongoing basis with the most up-to-date information on the virus. 

If you didn’t file a 2018 tax return, aren’t required to file for 2019, and don’t receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, click here to find out how you can receive your CARES Act $1200 payment.

 

Non-federal government resources: 

  • Most mortgage lenders are offering up to a 12-month forbearance for those affected by the virus. Click here for more information.
  • Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
  • Comcast is also boosting internet speeds and making it easier for low-income households without internet to access broadband. Click here for more information.
  • Mobile wireless carriers have announced that they have waived data caps. Click here for more information.
  • Facebook has launched a $100 million grant program for small businesses affected by the virus. Click here for more information.
  • Google & Alphabet have pledged $800+ million to aid small and medium-sized businesses, health organizations, governments, and front-line health care workers. Click here for more information.