Rep. Cunningham calls on Gov. McMaster to issue statewide ‘stay at home’ order


(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Representative Joe Cunningham is calling on Governor Henry McMaster to issue a statewide ‘stay at home’ order as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise in South Carolina.

More than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Rep. Cunningham’s district.

He says a statewide order would help when it comes to legal uncertainty for municipalities and would provide more urgent action in slowing the spread of the virus.

“Over the weekend I was in constant communication with coastal mayors who are experiencing widespread confusion about their legal authority to take critical steps to keep their residents safe. The Attorney General’s recent opinion that only the governor can issue stay-at-home orders – not local governments – has forced our local municipalities to weigh the price of keeping residents safe against the threat of costly legal action. This is a choice no city should have to make in a time of crisis.

Both Folly Beach and Edisto repealed their visitor and short-term rentals after South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson issued an opinion that essentially called their action illegal.

Residents of both island towns protested the decision and the municipalities held emergency meetings to enact those restrictions before the weekend came to an end.

“Due to the legal uncertainty of local municipalities’ authority to issue stay-at-home orders for their residents, my constituents and local leaders are confused about the accessibility of our cities and beaches. And residents of these areas are rightfully concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19 in their communities.

Our country is reeling from the further spread of COVID-19 and the recent trends are not encouraging. In order to provide all Lowcountry residents and municipalities with the safety and certainty they deserve, I am asking Governor McMaster to issue a statewide stay-at-home order immediately.

As someone who has already contracted COVID-19, I know firsthand how easy it can be caught and spread. While my symptoms are mild and improving, many others aren’t as lucky. We must do everything in our power to flatten the curve to keep our frontline health care workers, first responders, and constituents safe and healthy, and be able to return to our normal way of life as quickly as we can.”

The City of Charleston is the only Lowcountry city to enact a stay at home order. Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib also sent a message to Governor McMaster over the weekend asking for a statewide order.

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