South Carolina

Updated: May 8, 2020

Executive Orders 2020-31 and 2020-28 permit restaurants to open for outdoor dining and retail establishments to open at 20% capacity as long as certain social distancing protocols as set forth in the Orders are followed.

Updated: April 6, 2020



  • South Carolina recently issued two executive orders—Executive Order No. 2020-21 issued on April 6, 2020 (Home or Work Executive Order) and Executive Order No. 2020-18 issued on April 3, 2020 (Updated Retail Closure Executive Order)—to define Essential Business, Essential Activities, and Critical Infrastructure Operations (including CISA List operations) and to amend the state’s list of non-essential business subject to closure requirements.  Both orders remain in effect during South Carolina’s State of Emergency.
  • The Home or Work Executive Order directs all residents and visitors of the State of South Carolina to limit social interaction, practice “social distancing” in accordance with CDC guidance, and limit their movements outside of their residence except for Essential Business, Essential Activities, or Critical Infrastructure Operations.
    • Essential Businesses include those not listed in Executive Order 2020-18 (summarized below).
    • Essential Activities include the following, while taking reasonable steps to maintain 6-foot social distance:
      • Caring for or visiting a family member;
      • Obtaining necessary supplies and services;
      • Engaging in activities essential for health and safety;
      • Caring for pets;
      • Engaging in outdoor exercise and recreation;
      • Attending religious services in houses of worship; and
      • Travel as required by law (e.g., court proceedings, custody arrangements)
    • Critical Infrastructure Operations include:
      • Individuals operating commercial vehicles transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels and petroleum products (to include fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, and liquid petroleum), livestock, poultry, feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultural products ready to be harvested (to include timber and wood chips); individuals employed by airlines; and individuals otherwise engaged in commercial transportation activities.
      • Individuals performing or assisting with military, healthcare, public safety, or emergency response operations, as well as any other operations or services identified by the CISA List.
  • The Updated Retail Closure Executive Order rescinds and replaces prior Executive Order No. 2020-17 and lists additional “non-essential” public-facing businesses, venues, facilities, services, and activities to be closed to non-employees and by the public (including members, if applicable). The order’s closure requirement still allows online/telephone orders and curbside/offsite delivery services.  The additionally businesses include:
    • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
    • Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
    • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
    • Department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Book, craft, and music stores
    • Flea markets
    • Florists and flower stores
  • The South Carolina Department of Commerce will continue to process requests for “non-essential” clarifications or determinations and will respond within 24 hours.



Executive Summary

The South Carolina Executive Order requires all “Non-Essential Businesses” to be closed to non-employees and shall not be open for access or use by the public—to include members. This Order does not, however, require all citizens of the State to remain at home. 

Summary of Order

  • Issued on March 31, 2020, Effective as of April 1, 2020 at 5:00pm
  • This Order requires a specific list of Non-Essential Business to close to all non-employees.
  • The South Carolina Department of Commerce shall review any requests for clarification regarding whether a specific business is deemed Non-Essential. Such requests may be made by email at or by telephone at 803-734-2873.
  • Non-Essential Businesses include the following:
    • Entertainment venues
      • Night clubs
      • Bowling alleys
      • Arcades
      • Tourist attractions      
        • Museums
        • Aquariums
        • Planetariums
      • Adult entertainment venues
    • Recreational and athletic facilities
      • Gyms
      • Spas
      • Public commercial playgrounds
      • Sports that involve interaction within less than 6 feet
    • Close contact service providers
      • Barber shops
      • Hari salons
      • Waxing stations
      • Tattoo services
      • Tanning salons
      • Massage establishments

Social Distancing

Any and all businesses are urged to follow social distancing practices, including, to the maximum extent possible, self-isolation. Additionally, remote working and providing alternate means of purchase and delivering products should be implemented.


Any failure to obey an order to disburse by a law enforcement official is guilty of a misdemeanor resulting in fines of not more than $100 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days.


Critical infrastructure sectors listed in CISA guidance (check list at link above for detailed list of worker functions):

  • Healthcare / Public Health
  • Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Energy — Natural Gas, Natural Gas Liquids (NGL), Propane, and Other Liquid Fuels
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Public Works and Infrastructure Support Services
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Other Community- or Government-Based Operations and Essential Functions
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Financial Services
  • Chemical
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Commercial Facilities
  • Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services
  • Hygiene Products and Services