People and politicians in the US are reacting very differently to the coronavirus pandemic—it all depends on the state you’re living in. South Carolina has recently come under fire after some people on Twitter shared photos of Americans who aren’t staying at home and are ignoring the social distancing advice. Scroll down to see just what the situation is like in some parts of the state.
According to The New York Times, there are currently 1,554 reported cases of the coronavirus and 31 deaths in South Carolina. However, the state still hasn’t issued a “stay-at-home” order, even though Governor Henry McMaster has declared a state of emergency. In other words, there are some mixed messages and some Americans still aren’t taking the situation seriously.
Sheriff Lee Boan from Kershaw County told Bored Panda that there are clear signs that South Carolina's Governor McMaster is "slowly tightening down" the state. "He has already closed nonessential businesses and has been encouraging citizens to stay home since the beginning. I feel we are already 60-70% into a stay home order. The stay home order is not far away." Scroll down for the rest of our interview with Sheriff Boan about the current situation in his county and in the state.
According to Sheriff Boan, people who don't adhere to social distancing guidelines can be fined or even get jail time. "SC Section 16-7-10. It carries a $100 fine and up to 30 days in jail. We are dispersing crowds as we see them. Citizens are getting better. It is a major culture change for us all to stay away from each other. But, we are all getting better at it."
The Sheriff told Bored Panda that he and his colleagues are doing well. "No deputies at my department have been infected with COVID-19. We have had as many as 6 deputies out on quarantine due to 'indirect contact.' They were around someone who was around someone with coronavirus."
"We are well staffed now with all of our School Resource Officers (SRO), court deputies, and civil process deputies now assigned to patrol. We have more deputies on patrol now than we have ever had. We haven’t had the need to work over-time yet. But, we are prepared to do so. We also have some deputies that have volunteered to be reserve ambulance drives in the event that our EMS partners get understaffed."
Sheriff Boan said that he believes they are in the "calm before the storm" and haven't been hit hard. "Yet," he added.
Crowds gather on the beach Friday afternoon near 65th Ave. N. in Myrtle Beach
Governor McMaster has closed state parks and prohibited the public from going to beaches and lakes. He also ordered non-essential businesses, like hair salons and gyms, to close. All public schools are also shut down and students are learning via the internet from home.
Finally, the governor asked all citizens to stay at home. However, some South Carolina lawmakers think that this isn’t enough to suppress the spread of Covid-19 without an official “stay-at-home” order. People still can (and do!) leave their homes for any reason whatsoever, not just for essential trips to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or to take care of loved ones.
South Carolinian Republicans and Democrats are coming together and urging McMaster to issue the order. “I don’t understand why he hasn’t taken that step and told the citizens under the force of law you must stay at home,” Democrat Seth Rose expressed his frustration, considering that South Carolina’s neighbors North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida have all issued “stay-at-home” orders of their own.
“We should not be recommending you stay home unless you want to go out,” Rose added.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Boan also had this to say to people to make sure they’re social distancing: “It’s better to stay six feet apart now than to be six feet under later.” If that doesn’t get you to rethink going outside for no reason, can anything?
A northbound look down the beach from the Cherry Grove Pier
Go home Greenville County residents! Cleveland, SC March 28, 2020
Yesterday at folly beach, we had to leave because we couldn’t stay 6 feet away from the 20-somethings on the beach
Beach visitors fill the parking lot at the Cherry Grove Pier Friday afternoon
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina