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Columbia Enacts State of Emergency Following Afternoon of Protests

Following demonstrations that turned violent in the City of Columbia on Saturday May 30, 2020, city leaders passed an emergency ordinance declaring a curfew for the downtown area. The curfew will apply within the boundaries of Sumter Street, Huger Street, Elmwood Avenue and Pendleton Street until Monday morning June 1, 2020 at 6:00 a.m.

Residents are being asked to return home during the time frame of the curfew and to not assemble in common areas such as streets, parks and other public areas.

Full details of the ordinance can be found below:

ORDINANCE NO.: 2020-052
Declaring a State of Emergency and Enacting an Emergency Curfew

WHEREAS, by Ordinance No.: 2020-037 enacted on April 9, 2020, the Mayor and City Council imposed a curfew beginning on Friday, April 10, 2020 restricting travel and gatherings from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. with the exception of persons traveling to and from work and for healthcare, which ordinance would automatically expire on the 61st day after enactment; and,

WHEREAS, on May 25, 2020, George Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. Since Mr. Floyd’s death, many have expressed their frustration in a peaceful and constructive manner. Demonstrators have gathered to protest Mr. Floyd’s death. While peaceful demonstrations are essential to our democratic system, some individuals have engaged in unlawful and dangerous activity. These activities threaten the safety of lawful demonstrators, the surrounding communities, and first responders; and,

WHEREAS, events of Saturday, May 30, 2020 have resulted in property and personal damage and unlawful conduct; and,

WHEREAS, City Council finds that it is in the best interest of the public to protect public health and the general welfare of the public to enact a state of emergency and to extend the temporary curfew immediately rather than suffer the unfortunate and devastating consequences later; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE ORDAINED by the Mayor and City Council of the City of Columbia, South Carolina this 30th day of May, 2020 that a state of emergency is hereby enacted and effective immediately within the boundaries of Sumter Street, Pendleton Street, Huger Street and Elmwood Avenue requiring all individuals to return to their residences and remain off of all common areas, including but not limited to streets, parks, rights of way and other public spaces effective at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, May 30, 2020 until 6:00 a.m., Monday, June 1, 2020; and,

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED that the curfew restricting travel shall not apply to persons traveling to and from work and for healthcare; and,

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED that during the curfew, the following persons are exempted and free to travel to carry out their duties: police officers, firefighters, active duty military, health care providers, essential government personnel, and public works and utility workers employed by any public utility, the City of Columbia, the Counties of Richland and Lexington, the State of South Carolina and the United States of America.