Governor unveils plan to jumpstart economy

Pickens County nears 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases

COLUMBIA — As state officials reported the newest coronavirus infection numbers on Monday afternoon, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced the creation of a statewide economic revitalization plan involving small and large business leaders, health care professionals, local government officials and education professionals.

McMaster’s plan consists of five components of analysis and effort — response, protection, governance, resources and information. James Burns, a partner at the law firm of Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough, will serve as accelerateSC’s executive director. Burns and the rest of the membership are serving in a voluntary capacity. For more information about accelerateSC and its members, visit

McMaster also issued a new executive order removing restrictions on public access points to the state’s beaches, public piers, docks, and wharfs, while delegating to local officials the authority to restrict access, as they see fit.

The order also re-opens retail stores that were closed with a previous executive order. The businesses to be reopened are as follows:

• 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

All other businesses previously closed by executive order will remain closed until further notice.

Under the order, retail stores could reopen at 5 p.m. Monday, but must adhere to strict social distancing requirements, operating at 20 percent occupancy or five customers per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. In addition, businesses must not knowingly allow customers to congregate within six feet of one another, excluding families, and follow relevant CDC and DHEC guidelines.


Although there were no new cases reported in the county to open this week, Pickens County is up to 38 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Monday’s figures released by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Pickens County has the fifth-lowest population-adjusted rate of confirmed infection of the state’s 46 counties, with a rate of 29.95 cases per 100,000 residents, according to DHEC’s Monday update.

As of Monday afternoon’s news release, South Carolina had reached 4,439 total confirmed cases and 124 deaths related to the virus. No deaths have been reported in Pickens County. Neighboring Oconee County has the lowest rate of any county in the state, with 21.37 cases per 100,000 residents, DHEC reported Monday.

Although Pickens County had just 38 confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday, DHEC estimates that there are a little more than 230 cases around the county when including cases that have not been confirmed with testing. There are 271 total possible cases in the county, according to the DHEC projections.

DHEC provided an updated summary Monday about cases confirmed to date, as well as projections through May 9. The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in South Carolina on March 6. The projections currently indicate that South Carolina may see almost 750 new cases per week by early May. The total number of cases is estimated to grow to 6,953 confirmed cases on May 9.

As of April 20, DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory had conducted 12,248 tests for COVID-19. Of those tests, 1,506 were positive and 10,742 were negative. A total of 41,277 total tests by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs have been conducted in the state. DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week. The Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours.

DHEC’s COVID-19 webpage at is updated daily with a map of positive cases, as well as the most current recommendations for protecting against COVID-19.