IMPH COVID-19 Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary public health and policy challenge. The South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH) is committed to providing analysis and updates on COVID-19 and what it means for our state. We urge all to stay informed and to practice social distancing in order to minimize the effects of this virus in our state. This page will be updated regularly with our newest work.

Timeline of COVID-19 Milestones and Policy Decisions in South Carolina

South Carolina COVID-19 Timeline

March 2020

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April 2020

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May 2020

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June 2020

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July 2020

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August 2020

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September 2020

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October 2020

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November 2020

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December 2020

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January 2021

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February 2021

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March 2021

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April 2021

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May 2021

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June 2021

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Executive Orders

2021-23 May 11, 2021 – Masks, Schools, Vaccine Passports

Governor Henry McMaster has issued an executive order that prohibits any county or local government in the state from relying on prior executive orders or using the state of emergency as the basis for a local mask mandate. The governor has directed DHEC – in consultation with the S.C. Department of Education – to develop and distribute a form that parents, or legal guardians can sign that would allow their child to opt-out of masks requirements imposed by public schools. This order also bars all state agencies and local governments from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition for receiving government services or entry to public buildings.

2021-23 Official (PDF)

2021-20 May 7, 2021 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (May 22, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2021-20 Official (PDF)

2021-20 April 22, 2021 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (May 7, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2021-20 Official (PDF)
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2021-18 April 7, 2021 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (April 22, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2021-20 Official (PDF)

2021-15 March 23, 2021 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (April 7, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2021-15 Official (PDF)

2021-13 March 8, 2021– State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (March 23, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2021-13 Official (PDF)

2021-12 March 5, 2021– Emergency Order Modifications

Governor Henry McMaster has modified existing emergency orders to allow state department agency heads to begin the process of facilitating the return of state employees to the workplace on a full-time basis. This order also rescinds mandatory mask safety measures in government offices and buildings.

2021-12 Official (PDF)

2021-11 March 1, 2021– Emergency Order Modifications

Governor Henry McMaster has rescinded previous emergency orders, allowing for the sale and consumption of alcohol on premises of restaurants and bars. This order also lifts gathering restrictions that were previously set at 250 people.

2021-11 Official (PDF)

2021-10 February 21, 2021– State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (March 8, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2021-10 Official (PDF)

2021-08 February 6, 2021 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (February 21, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2021-08 Official (PDF)

2021-07 January 22, 2021 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (February 6, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2021-07 Official (PDF)

2021-03 January 7, 2021 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (January 22, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

2021-03 Official (PDF)

2020-77 December 23, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (January 7, 2021) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2020-77 Official (PDF)

2020-72 December 8, 2020 – State of Emergency  

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (December 23rd) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.   

2020-72 Official (PDF)

2020-72 November 23, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (December 8th) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

2020-72 Official (PDF)

2020-70 November 8, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (November 23rd) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2020-70 Official (PDF)

2020-67 October 24, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (November 8th) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020-67 Official (PDF)

2020-65 October 9, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (October 24th) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020-65 Official (PDF)

2020-62 September 24, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (October 9th) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020-62 Official (PDF)

2020-59 September 9, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (September 24th) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

2020-59 Official (PDF)

2020-56 August 25, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (September 9th) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

2020-56 Official (PDF)

2020-53 August 10, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (August 25th) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

2020-53 Official (PDF)

2020-48 July 26, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of Emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (August 10th) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

2020-48 Official (PDF)

2020-44 July 11, 2020 – State of Emergency

Governor McMaster extends the state of Emergency in South Carolina for another 15 days (July 26th) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020-44 Official (PDF)

2020-42 June 26, 2020 – State of Emergency

 Amid the increasing cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, Governor McMaster renewed the state of emergency which ended on June 11. This state of emergency will run for 15 days (July 10) to ensure quick responses to the growing COVID-19 outbreak in South Carolina.

2020-42 Official (PDF)

State of Emergency

Amid the increasing cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, Governor McMaster renewed the state of emergency which ended on June 11. This state of emergency will run for 15 days (July 10) to ensure quick responses to the growing COVID-19 outbreak in South Carolina.

2020-40 Official (PDF)

State of Emergency to Facilitate Coordinated COVID-19 Pandemic Response

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency for South Carolina another 15 days (June 11) to ensure the state can react quickly in the fight against COVID-19. The first COVID-related state of emergency was issued on March 13 and the second on May 12.

2020-38 Official (PDF)

Additional Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures

This Executive Order allows the reopening of close-contact businesses that were closed due to COVID-19 including entertainment venues, facilities, services and activities effective May 22, 2020.

2020-37 Official (PDF)

Additional Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures

This executive order authorizes the re-opening of close contact businesses, venues and facilities which were previously deemed “non-essential.” Establishments that re-open will be subject to guidelines established by the CDC, DHEC and recommendations provided by acclerateSC.

2020-36 Official (PDF)

State of Emergency to Facilitate COVID-19 Pandemic Response, Testing, & Other Measures

Governor Henry McMaster extends the state of emergency for South Carolina for 15 additional days (until May 27). The first COVID-related state of emergency order for South Carolina was issued on March 13.

2020-35 Official (PDF)

Authorization of Limited Indoor Dining Services and Rescission of Boating Restrictions

GovernorMcMaster issues an executive order that will allow close contact businesses to reopen on May 18. This group of businesses includes barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors and massage services. Commercial gyms can also open, including yoga studios, barre classes, and others.

2020-34 Official (PDF)

Modification of Home or Work Order & Authorization of Outdoor Dining Services

In an effort to reopen the state, Governor McMaster lifted the ‘home or work’ order, which allowed citizens to only partake in essential activities. Along with this, restaurants will be allowed to serve customers outdoors starting Monday, May 4th.

2020-31 Official (PDF)

Rescinding Self-Quarantine, Lodging, & Travel Restrictions for Individuals Entering S.C. from High-Risk Areas

This executive order ends mandatory self-quarantine, lodging and travel restrictions for individuals entering South Carolina from high risk areas.

2020-30 Official (PDF)

State of Emergency Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Response, Other Measures

Governor McMaster issued a new state of emergency order for South Carolina on April 27, 2020. The new executive order will remain in effect for 15 days — until May 12 — unless the order is modified, amended, or rescinded. This is the third state of emergency order declared by McMaster since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The previous state of emergency was set to expire on April 27.

2020-29 Official (PDF)

Modification of Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters & Incremental Modification of Non-Essential Business Closures

Governor McMaster re-opened the first wave of nonessential businesses to begin the revitalization of South Carolina’s economy including department stores, craft stores, jewelry stores, sporting goods stores, florists and flea markets. These stores must operate at 20% of their listed capacity or 5 customers per 1,000 square foot of store space. This order also reopens the state’s beaches with social distancing measures still in place.

2020-28 Official (PDF)

Modification of Emergency Restrictions for Public Waters & Emergency Measures for Unemployment Claims & Benefits

This executive order is the first step in reopening our state, as public boat ramps to the lakes, rivers and the ocean can be reopened to facilitate outdoor exercise and recreational activity. Social distancing measures are still in place and groups of three are still subject to be broken up by law enforcement.

2020-25 Official (PDF)

Third State of Emergency Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor McMaster renewed the state of emergency, which maintains previous orders for another 15 days.

2020-23 Official (PDF)

Authorization for COVID-19 Support Payments by Employers

Governor McMaster authorized and directed the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce to interpret furloughed employees due to COVID-19 as unemployed; therefore, being able to apply for unemployment benefits.

2020-22 Official (PDF)

Home or Work Order

Governor McMaster ordered a mandatory home or work order where South Carolinians are to remain home unless they are visiting family, exercising or obtaining essential goods or services.s

2020-21 Official (PDF)

Closure of Additional Non-Essential Businesses

Retail stores were deemed “non-essential” businesses and to be closed in conjunction with those of Executive Order 2020-17.

2020-19 Official (PDF)

Lodging & Travel Restrictions for Individuals from High-Risk Areas

This order suspends short term rentals including hotels, vacation homes, condos and time shares for people traveling from CDC identified high-risk populations. (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the City of New Orleans)

2020-18 Official (PDF)

Closure of Non-Essential Businesses

Additional actions were taken to enforce social distancing through the closure of “non-essential” businesses, venues, facilities and close-contact service providers for 15 days.

2020-17 Official (PDF)

Emergency Access Restrictions for Public Beaches & Waters Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

This order closed all public beach access points and public boat landings on state owned lakes.

2020-16 Official (PDF)

State of Emergency Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Public schools and publicly funded state colleges and universities are ordered to remain closed for students and non-essential employees through the month of April.

2020-15 Official (PDF)

Self-Quarantine for Individuals from High-Risk Areas

Individuals who enter South Carolina from areas with substantial community spread, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the City of New Orleans to self-quarantine for 14 days from the time they enter the state.

2020-14 Official (PDF)

Authorizing Law Enforcement to Preserve Public Health

Governor McMaster instructed law enforcement to disperse public gatherings of three or more people with violations resulting in a misdemeanor.

2020-13 Official (PDF)

Regulatory Flexibility to Facilitate “Social Distancing”

This order facilitates social distancing practices to mitigate significant economic impacts on small businesses and restaurants and allows the sale of closed container beer and wine to-go.

2020-12 Official (PDF)

Directing Additional Emergency Measures Due to COVID-19

All non -essential state employees were ordered to stay home from work or work from home. The General Assembly passed the $45 million funding for DHEC.

2020-11 Official (PDF)

Directing Additional Emergency Measures Due to COVID-19

This executive order required the mandatory shutdown of all dine-in services for restaurants and bars. It also includes the delay of the state tax deadline to June 1st and decreased the public gathering recommendation to not exceed 50 people.

2020-10 Official (PDF)

Closing Schools, Other Provisions in Response to COVID-19

Public schools and state-supported colleges and universities in the state were forced to close for students and non-essential employees through the end of March. The order also encourages public gatherings to not exceed 100 people.

2020-09 Official (PDF)

Declaring State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19

Governor McMaster declared a State of Emergency along with announcing the closure of all public schools in Kershaw and Lancaster Counties. This order directs $45 million from the Contingency Reserve Fund to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to aid in coordinating the State’s public health response to be allocated by the General Assembly.

2020-08 Official (PDF)

Lifting Transportation Restrictions in Response to COVID-19

The first executive order in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus directed state officials to convene with the Public Health Emergency Plan Committee and activated the South Carolina Emergency Operations Plan.

2020-07 Official (PDF)

Coronavirus News

July 16, 2020

Press Release: Newly Released DHEC Death Count Data Shows Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Black Residents in All Regions of South Carolina

Read the Full Report IMPH and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) released a data brief today examining ...

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July 8, 2020

Coronavirus-Related Restrictions By State: South Carolina

Status of Stay-at-Home order Gov. Henry McMaster announced a statewide "home or work" order, effective April 7 at 5 p.m. The order ...

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May 20, 2020

COVID-19 and the Carolinas: State Responses and Federal Legislation to Address the Crisis - Part II

View the Issue Brief Released in partnership with the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, joint brief addresses policy changes affecting C ...

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