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Officers seek fairness when enforcing work-or-home order

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With Gov. Henry McMaster’s “work or home” order having gone into effect Tuesday afternoon, local and state law enforcement agencies are ready to enforce the order, but want to respect everyone’s civil liberties.

“As usual, we’re going to handle the problems that come up,” Greenwood Police Department Public Information Officer Jonathan Link said. “It’s not the sort of thing where we’re going to be pulling every car over and asking everyone where they’re headed.”

He said officers will be exhibiting common sense when it comes to enforcing the order. The governor’s words, Link said, came across more as guidance for the public than a hard-line rule to be strictly enforced.

“A lot of this is just going to rely on people taking heed to the governor’s words,” Greenwood County Sheriff Dennis Kelly said. “Everybody needs to do their part to help slow the spread of this thing.”

Staying at home when possible, practicing social distancing and vigilant hand-washing are all part of limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus. By shutting down public gatherings and limiting situations where people could congregate, the speed of the illness’ spread can be slowed.

For Abbeville’s deputies, a common-sense approach is the best way to handle it, Abbeville Sheriff Ray Watson said.

“If the officers see a group of kids or adults grouping up and congregating, we’ll talk to them and tell them to break it up,” he said. “We’re taking this as a chance to educate people and help them understand the risks that come with this thing.”

The order doesn’t change much of what the state Department of Natural Resources officers are up to, as the governor added an exemption for outdoor recreations such as fishing and hunting, DNR Upstate representative Greg Lucas said. While boaters and lake-goers were an issue in the first couple of weeks, Lucas said people are doing better at following the government guidelines.

“People seem to be adjusting to the new normal and operating under the governor’s advice and orders,” he said.

On the highways, state troopers will be enforcing the order as it becomes relevant, state Department of Public Safety Public Affairs Director Sherri Iacobelli said. If during a stop troopers get reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe someone is traveling for nonessential purposes, Iacobelli said officers will take appropriate action to enforce the order.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.

COVID-19

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

People in the Abbeville area will have the chance to get tested for COVID-19 for free, courtesy of an upcoming Abbeville Area Medical Center mobile testing event.

South Carolina added 331 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest single-day number of new cases to date — and reported 13 more deaths associated with the respiratory virus.

Magnolia Manor of Greenwood reported nine additional cases of COVID-19, increasing the facility's total to 61 confirmed cases.

Greenwood CPW is set to end its temporary policy of not disconnecting service because of lack of payment. This policy will end June 8.

The South Carolina High School League sent a memo to member schools Thursday afternoon informing them that summer workouts for fall sports will be allowed.

Greenwood County recorded 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday — its highest single-day tally to date — while Laurens County had three new cases and Abbeville County and Saluda County each saw two.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the Lakelands and the country respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has led to state and national emergency declarations, it is vital for everyone to have up-to-date information about the virus and its spread. As such, we're providing free access to all of our COVID-19 coverage, which is available on this page.

Here's the latest information on COVID-19 from health agencies and hospitals: