The city of Charleston has become the first in the state of South Carolina to enact an ordinance requiring people to stay at home for the next 14 days, except for necessary trips like to the grocery store or pharmacy. The ordinance also closes all non-essential businesses.
Mayor John Tecklenburg says he decided to put the ordinance before the city council Tuesday night for emergency action because the Department of Health and Environmental Control has announced the coronavirus pandemic is in an acceleration phase across the state.
"This means that there is significant community spread," Teckenburg said. "We've entered the period of maximum danger for our citizens with infection rates and deaths due to this disease set to rise exponentially."
The mayor also closed all city parks and playgrounds because of the large number of gatherings in public spaces despite health officials urging social distancing.
"We can and will bend the curve on this disease in our community," the mayor said."We will do it the way we do everything here in Charleston. We'll do it together."
The Department of Health and Environmental Control has been reporting the number of COVID-19 cases daily since the outbreak began. The agency is projecting 2,657 cumulatiave cases by April 2 and 8,053 cases by May 2, adding those number are estimates and could change.
DHEC also says people should not expect to be notified individually if they have been exposed to a case. Instead, everyone is encouraged to practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.