South Carolina Governor Closes Public Access Points to State Beaches

Paula Liu
By Paula Liu
March 31, 2020COVID-19share
South Carolina Governor Closes Public Access Points to State Beaches
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks at 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on June 19, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/File Photo via Reuters)

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order on Monday, ordering the closure of all public access to the state’s beaches.

McMaster’s executive order is the state’s latest attempt to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

“I hereby order and direct that any and all public beach access points, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency,” the executive order read.

McMaster also closed the public boat ramps as well as public access points to rivers and lakes, according to the executive order. He also said he will suspend any prior regulations in place that are inconsistent with this current executive order, that is, any prior regulations that “would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.”

“I hereby order and direct that any and all public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing public access to the public waters of this State, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency,” the order read.

The order comes after people in the state continued to visit beaches in groups and other public places, instead of practicing “social-distancing” as instructed by the state, the governor said in a Twitter post.

“As a result of behavior observed this past weekend by the Department of Natural Resources and SLED, it has become necessary to close public access to our state’s beaches, and close boat ramps and landings on our state’s lakes, rivers and waterways,” he wrote. “This is unfortunate for those who chose to responsibly follow the instructions of our public health officials, but a necessary action to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus.”

McMaster echoed this in the executive order, writing, “in furtherance of the foregoing, and in view of the fact that individuals have continued to patronize the State’s beaches and access the State’s public waterways without heeding the instructions of public health officials or adhering to appropriate ‘social distancing’ practices, further action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, security, and welfare of the people of the State of South Carolina.”

Any violations to the new order will result in a misdemeanor, the governor said, and will be fined up to $100 or imprisoned for up to 30 days.

South Carolina has 1,083 confirmed cases and 18 deaths as of Tuesday night.

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