COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – Governor Henry McMaster announced he had extended the State of Emergency for South Carolina during a news conference Thursday.

State law determines if a governor makes the extension, it will last for 15 days. The declaration allows for the state’s response to COVID-19 to continue, McMaster said.

McMaster has said the State of Emergency allows him to suspend regulations and put the state in a position to receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The emergency order directs the Department of Health and Environmental Control to exercise all of its emergency powers as outlined in the Emergency Health Powers Act, which allows the departments to do what it deems necessary to address the coronavirus pandemic.

In the executive order McMaster states, “I further direct DHEC to restrict visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with the exception of end-of-life situations, as DHEC deems necessary and appropriate.”

 It directs public schools to remain closed through the state of emergency unless otherwise mandated.

It also gives protective measures for first responders and suspends rules and regulations regarding certain transportation waivers and prohibits price gouging.

According to SC’s price gouging law, it is unlawful to “rent or sell or offer to rent or sell a commodity at an unconscionable price.”

The law also says that “a price increase that reflect the usual and customary seasonal fluctuation in the price of the subject essential commodity or the rental or lease of a dwelling unit or self-storage facility is not a violation of this section.”

The law will remain in effect until the declaration expires or is terminated.

“We can expect normal price increases, but we may see businesses and individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging of things like hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and other commodities as defined by the statute. By our law, that’s a criminal violation and an unfair trade practice,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said. “We wish to emphasize, as we have seen in the past, that price gouging under the current law is difficult to prove, even substantial price increases. What might seem large to the public may not be illegal in court.”

The following are the steps you can take to report price gouging in your area:

  1. Note the time, place, address, and name of the business
  2. Note the price you paid
  3. Note any prices nearby and get the same information on those businesses
  4. Take pictures that identify the business, along with the price
  5. Provide your name and contact information

Anyone found guilty of price gouging is g

According to a news release, you can email examples or documentation to pricegouging or call 803-737-3953.

You can read the full state of emergency order here: