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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 Regarding Restaurant Operations

After a phased reopening of restaurants and other food vendors, the Governor has issued an order limiting and regulating restaurant operations in several ways. Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-50:

  1. Restaurants that elect to offer indoor or outdoor dining services for on-premises or dine-in consumption must take reasonable steps to incorporate applicable sanitation guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, and any other guidance from state or federal public health officials, as well as relevant industry guidance, in order to limit the chances of spreading COVID-19.

  2. Restaurants must require all employees, customers, suppliers, vendors, and other visitors entering the premises to wear face coverings, except while actively engaged in eating or drinking.

  3. Restaurants are not permitted to sell or allow the consumption of beer, wine, or alcoholic liquor between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. the following day.

  4. Restaurants must limit the number of customers and patrons that are eating inside the premises to 50% capacity as determined by the fire marshal.

  5. Restaurants must space all indoor and outdoor tables at least six (6) feet apart from other tables.

  6. Seating at each table will be limited to no more than eight (8) customers, unless all customers seated at a table are members of the same family unit or household.

  7. Restaurants must adopt and enforce a process to ensure that customers waiting to be seated maintain a minimum of six (6) feet of separations from other parties while waiting to be seated, such as by using tape or other markings to indicate six (6) feet of distance in indoor or outdoor waiting areas.

  8. Restaurants must not allow patrons and customers to stand or congregate in any bar area, and must remove any bar stools or arrange them in a manner that will ensure customers and patrons are able to maintain a minimum of six (6) feet of distance for other parties.

  9. Restaurants must post signage at each public entrance informing customers, patrons, suppliers, vendors, and other visitors that entry is prohibited for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past two weeks.

  10. Restaurants must conduct an employee survey and screening process prior to, or at the beginning, of each shift, which should include taking each employee’s temperature and inquiring about common COVID-19 symptoms before employees begin working.

  11. Restaurants should immediately excuse and exclude any employees showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past two weeks.

  12. Restaurants should actively encourage and require employees who are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with anyone who has tested positive with COVID-19 in the last two weeks to stay home, and must develop polices to encourage any such employees to stay at home without fear of reprisal or adverse employment action for staying home.

  13. Restaurants should remove common-use condiments, such as salt, pepper, and ketchup from tables, and should be provided upon request and cleaned and sanitized between uses if single use options are unavailable.

  14. Restaurants should not place utensils on a table until after a customer or patron is seated, and preferably should offer disposable single-use utensils.

  15. Restaurants should offer disposable paper menus if possible or sanitize menus in between uses.

  16. Restaurants must use approved sanitizing solutions to clean tables, chairs, and check presenters after each table turn or seating.

  17. Restaurants shall provide a cleaning station or alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all entry points.

  18. Restaurants must discontinue self-service buffets or food stations, but employees may be permitted to dispense food via cafeteria-style buffet service.

  19. Restaurants must discontinue services that allow customers and patrons to fill or refill their own beverages.

  20. Restaurants must sanitize all doorknobs and other shared or frequently touched services as much as possible with approved sanitizing solutions.

  21. Restaurants should only use kiosks or touch screens for customers and patrons if they can be sanitized between uses and should encourage touchless payment operations like credit cards with not signature requirement.

Nothing in the above restrictions is meant to limit the offer or sale of food or beverages for off-premises consumption to the extent currently authorized.

Government or Lead Agency

Office of the Governor/South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Dates Available

The Governor’s emergency restrictions regarding restaurant operations will be in effect beginning August 3, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. for the duration of the State of Emergency unless otherwise modified, amended, extended or rescinded by subsequent Order.

Eligibility Requirements/Restrictions

N/A

Application Deadlines (If Applicable)

N/A

Contact for More Information

For more information, email Food@dhec.sc.gov or call the DHEC at (803) 896-0640.

List of Additional Information

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

To visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s COVID-19 reopening and food safety site click here.

For the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association’s COVID-19 reopening guidance site 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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