South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order Wednesday allowing sports stadiums, theaters, concert venues and other large-attendance spaces to reopen in the state as of August 3. In the first stage of reopening, attendance will be greatly limited, and masks will be required for all staff and patrons,
“These limited restrictions are temporary, they are measured, and they are targeted towards what we know works,” said McMaster. “These measures give South Carolina the best chance to slow the spread of the virus without shutting down the state’s economy – which we cannot and will not do – as many continue to call for.”
Businesses and venues covered by the executive order include “festivals, parades, concerts, theaters, stadiums, arenas, coliseums, auditoriums, grandstands, amphitheaters, gymnasiums, concert halls, dance halls, performing arts centers, parks, racetracks, or similarly operated entities,” according to the governor’s office.
Capacity at these venues will be limited to 250 patrons or 50% of the standard maximum, whichever is less. There will be a process through which event organizers and venues can apply for an increased maximum with the state Department of Commerce, requiring them to show that social distancing will still be possible at the event at the desired capacity.
The decision comes as high school and college sports leagues make decisions regarding their fall plans, and whether or not attendance will be allowed at events (as well as whether or not events will be held). ACC football, including at Clemson University in the state, is expected to be played in the fall with a mostly conference-based schedule for the schools.
As a condition of allowing guests, all events must require the wearing of face masks or coverings as a condition of entry, and enact social distancing and hygiene protocols recommended by the state’s reopening agency. Alcohol sales must also be halted no later than 11 p.m.
South Carolina has seen some 87,572 positive test results for coronavirus since the pandemic’s beginning, with 1,615 deaths as of Thursday morning per worldometers.info. Cases had been below 500 a day until early June, but numbers have drastically increased in recent weeks, with a daily high of 2,374 reported in mid-July.