Law enforcement ordered to disperse groups of three or more in South Carolina


AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Many experts and lawmakers all over the country are urging people to socially distance themselves to curb the spread of coronavirus. Right now you are no longer allowed to be in a group of three or more in the Palmetto State.

Many of you may be worried about being sent to jail if you are in a group of three or more but the punishment is not too harsh. That is if you cooperate. 

“We will enforce it but we will enforce it with common sense,” said Aiken County Sheriff’s Office Captain Nick Gallam.

Right now, you’re not going to see a lot of people out in Aiken County. Many bars, restaurants, parks and other places are closed due to COVID-19. March 23rd, Governor McMaster ordered a ban on groups of three or more enforceable by law.

Capt. Gallam explained, “It’s like any other statute that’s on the books. We can enforce it in several ways. Our officers have discretion so if it’s a matter where they can simply ask the group to disperse and they disperse, then no action would be taken.”

Although if further action needs to be taken, it will. The executive order does not apply to people who are at home staying safe or for those going to some businesses like a grocery store. 

“We don’t want house parties. We don’t’ want picnics, barbeques, that kind of stuff,” said Capt. Gallam.

Law enforcement will not be out specifically looking for groups of three or more but if you are spotted breaking the ordinance, you could face a misdemeanor similar to a public nuisance charge. 

Capt. Gallam said, “We don’t want the community to be afraid that if for some reason they’re in a group of three or more, you know, a family of four thinks they’re going to get hauled off to jail, that’s not the case. As an agency, we feel that we will carry out the governor’s order. We think we’re in a good position in Aiken County. “

At this time, there are two positive coronavirus cases in Aiken County so continue to practice good hygiene and social distancing to stop the coronavirus from spreading.

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