City of Charleston Issues Emergency “Stay at Home” Ordinance

view of a street with a cathedral in the background

On March 24, 2020, Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg, with approval of city council, issued an Emergency “Stay at Home” Ordinance ordering all citizens of Charleston to remain in their homes and cease all non-essential travel or congregation within the city limits for at least the next 14 days. The order may be extended at the end of the 14-day period if such extension is deemed necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Charleston. A copy of the emergency order, including a list of “essential services,” can be found here.

Based on prior statements by City of Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds and Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, we do not think violators of the ordinance will be arrested, but citations are certainly possible. It’s important to keep in mind, because the penalty for violating the ordinance is undefined, when Charleston Municipal court reconvenes weeks or months from now, it’s likely the presiding judge would have the power to issue fines up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail for anyone convicted of violating the ordinance. If you happen to receive a citation for violating the ordinance, please give Adams & Bischoff a call for a free consultation.

It’s important to remember the easiest thing to do – not to mention the safest and most courteous – is to stay at home and obey the order until it either expires or is lifted. Now is not the time to have play dates with neighborhood kids, go to parties or host gatherings at friends’ houses, or even take random trips to department stores or other businesses allowed to remain open simply to “get out of the house.” Please be respectful to your fellow neighbors. Think about the impact COVID-19 is having on communities all across the world and heed the warnings and orders. The sooner we do, the sooner this will be over for all of us.

Stay healthy and safe,

Adams & Bischoff, LLC