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South Carolina

These resources – like the public health crisis itself – are constantly evolving and are only current as to the date of publication. This page was last updated on August 4, 2020.

For more up-to-date information on the relief programs available in South Carolina, we recommend that you visit the Governor's Executive Orders, the Department of Commerce website or the Department of Health and Environment Control's COVID-19 resources.

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Description of Program and Relief

Emergency Restrictions On Gatherings

Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-50, recent guidance on which non-essential businesses may open to the public have been rescinded and replaced with guidance restricting “Gatherings.” Gatherings are defined as planned or spontaneous indoor or outdoor events that involve or is reasonably likely to involve large numbers of people physically present in close proximity or otherwise simultaneously in attendance at the same indoor or outdoor location. Gatherings include, but are not limited to:

  • Festivals

  • Parades

  • Concerts

  • Theaters

  • Stadiums

  • Arenas

  • Coliseums

  • Auditoriums

  • Grandstands

  • Event Venues

  • Dance Halls

  • Concert Halls

  • Amphitheaters

  • Gymnasiums

  • Chambers

  • Assemblies

  • Nightclubs

  • Performing Arts Venues

  • Parks

  • Racetracks

  • Other similarly situated or operated businesses, facilities, venues, services, activities, events or mass gatherings

Any entity holding a Gathering must adhere to the following restrictions and conditions:

  • The total number of employees, customers, patrons, suppliers, vendors, visitors or other persons present for or in attendance at a Gathering must not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the location’s occupancy limit as determined by the fire marshal, if applicable, or two hundred fifty (250) persons, whichever is less.

  • All employees, customers, patrons, suppliers, vendors, visitors, or other persons in attendance at a Gathering must wear a face covering, subject to certain exceptions as a condition of entry or participation.

  • The sale or consumption of beer, wine, or alcoholic liquor shall be prohibited at any gathering between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. the following day.

  • The organizers, operators, owners, or hosts of, or other parties responsible for, a Gathering must take reasonable steps to implement and adhere to any applicable sanitation, “social distancing,” and hygiene guidelines promulgated by the CDC, Department of Health and Environmental Control (“DHEC”), or any other state or federal public health officials, as well as relevant industry guidance, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Executive Order excludes individuals collectively performing or assisting with military, healthcare, public safety, emergency response operations, or operations or services essential to continued critical infrastructure from the definition of Gathering. The Executive Order also excludes the normal operations of public and private schools and higher education institutions or religious activities or services, including those conducted in churches, synagogues, mosques, or other houses of worship.

The Department of Commerce, in consultation with the DHEC, has been authorized to provide or issue any necessary and appropriate additional or supplemental guidance, rules, regulations, or restrictions to implement the Governor’s Order. The Department of Commerce, in consultation with the DHEC, shall provide clarification to any organizer, operator, or host of, or other party responsible for, any Gatherings regarding the application of the above restrictions to any particular Gathering, as well as any applications for exceptions to the above restrictions, for Gatherings. The Department of Commerce shall grant exceptions only upon a thorough and satisfactory demonstration that any particular Gathering(s) will comply with, and operate according to, any applicable sanitation, “social distancing,” and hygiene guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health officials, and any such exception will be provisional and subject to revision, alteration, or revocation at any point.

All events where more than 250 guests are expected must be approved by the Department of Commerce. For more information on obtaining approval, visit the SC Department of Commerce’s Approval Site here.

Government or Lead Agency

South Carolina Department of Commerce/South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Dates Available

The Governor’s emergency restrictions on Gatherings is effective from 5:00 p.m., August 3, 2020 until the end of the State of Emergency, unless otherwise modified, amended, extended or rescinded by subsequent Executive Order

Eligibility Requirements/Restrictions

N/A

Application Deadlines (If Applicable)

N/A

Contact for More Information

For more information, visit the SC Department of Commerce’s website here.

To submit questions, requests for clarifications, or requests for exceptions, email covid19sc@sccommerce.com or call (803) 734-2873.

List of Additional Information

For the Governor’s Order announcing the emergency restrictions on gatherings click here.


© 2021 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. This does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. In some jurisdictions, this publication may be considered attorney advertising. Past representations are no guarantee of future outcomes.

© 2021 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

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