SCDEW: 64,000+ file for unemployment last week

For perspective, the average number of weekly claims runs around 2,000.

Click here for the SCDEW COVID-19 Resource Hub

Due to the influx of unemployment claims being filed, the national system known as ICON hub, which all states use to validate social security numbers on claims in real time, is being overwhelmed with validation requests. We are required to validate social security numbers to avoid fraud and prevent identity theft. The ICON hub team is aware of this unusual issue and is working to expand their database capacity.

In South Carolina, we are getting two different Social Security related questions:

First: The social security number field keeps you from filing a claim and states that the number is invalid and will not let you proceed to the next screen.

If you are getting this message, that is the validation delay mentioned above. We are asking folks to try to apply during an off-peak time. The validation of the social security number is done in REAL time, so that means as you are attempting to file, there are A LOT of people nationwide doing the same exact thing. We understand this has been an issue for a lot of people and as we get more information on progress, we will communicate that out.

Second: Once you have filed a claim, received a confirmation number and returned to the portal, your dashboard may show a pending Social Security Number Validation issue or a pending Separation issue.

These issues will be handled by our agency staff. No action is needed on your end. And if additional information is needed, a representative will contact you directly. There is no need to speak to an agent regarding these issues.

DNR guidance on Governor’s Executive Order (lakes, rivers, etc)

Campaign Update

Filing for elected offices around the state ended yesterday and I wanted to let you know that I have two opponents in the General Election in November – a Democrat and a Libertarian. We live in a great district and it is my honor to represent you in the State House.

However, with all this going in the world, now is not the time to begin our campaign. Instead, I’ll continue to work from home, like many of you, while also continuing to help connect folks with appropriate state or federal agencies during these extraordinary times.

As I said, it’s my honor and privilege to serve all of you and, with your support, I look forward to continuing to represent you at the State House!

Public Access Closed – UPDATED

“As a result of behavior observed this past weekend by the Department of Natural Resources and SLED, it has become necessary to close public access to our state’s beaches, and to close boat ramps and landings on our state’s lakes, rivers and waterways,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “This is unfortunate for those who chose to responsibly follow the instructions of our public health officials, but it is a necessary action to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.”

The governor’s executive order authorizes and instructs the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, in consultation with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Attorney General’s office, to provide any necessary supplemental guidance.

“This Section does not apply to individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit to the extent such individuals may seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities,” the governor’s order reads.

The order does not impact the rights of private property owners living on beaches, lakes, rivers, or waterways in any way.

Received this from SCDNR moments ago:
Date: March 31, 2020 at 11:30:19 AM EDT
To: Nathan Ballentine
Subject: Interim Public Guidance from SCDNR

SCDNR is working with our state and local agency partners to enforce the provisions of Governor’s Executive Order 2020-16. All public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing access to the public waters of the State, including any adjacent or associated parking lots or other facilities, are closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency. This does not apply to privately-owned facilities including pay-for-launch boat ramps, marinas, or private boat docks, however, law enforcement will be enforcing the requirement to practice social distancing. The beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island, is prohibited under this Order. Anchoring to fish is allowed; however, rafting is prohibited. This Order also does not prevent persons from using boats or watercraft to access other private properties accessible only by water. SCDNR and DHEC will be releasing more detailed guidance and answers to frequently asked questions later today. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we handle this unprecedented public health situation.

Staying positive in a pandemic

The world has definitely changed (for how long?). You may not be able to do things the way you’ve always done them; but you can still do most of those things!

District Five Feeding Sites

New federal, state feeding sites waiver allows parents to take meals home to students

Beginning Monday, March 30 students will not be required to be present at feeding sites for parents & guardians to receive their students’ meals. The change comes as a result of a new federal and state-approved waiver, allowing districts to distribute meals “to a parent or guardian to take home to their children.” Previously, students needed to be present to receive meals through USDA’s child nutrition programs.

Though students are not required to be present at feeding sites, parents will be required to show their students’ ID cards, if they have them. If they do not have them, they will be required to sign their name and list their children’s names in order to receive the meals. Per the guidelines of the federal USDA waiver, these steps are taken to maintain the integrity of the program, while providing flexibility for parents.


Free meals for children age 18 or younger are offered on Mondays only at six schools in Lexington-Richland School District Five. Students receive 5 days-worth of breakfast and lunch items, during the Monday meal offering.

There are 6 locations across the district, serving meals 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the front of each school.

H. E. Corley Elementary
Harbison West Elementary
Seven Oaks Elementary
Irmo High
Dutch Fork High
Chapin High School
Items will be individually packaged, to-go food offerings with dietary information on the packaging. Meal drop-off deliveries will also be provided on Mondays to the following apartment complexes at the following times:

Waters at Berryhill Apartments 11:00 am -11:30 am
River Oaks Apartments, 11:45 am -12:15 pm
Irmo Village Apartments 12:30 pm -1:00 pm
NOTE: Monday meal pick-up at Seven Oaks Elementary School will now be located in the car rider line at the rear of the school. This change is to improve traffic flow. The feeding site at Seven Oaks Elementary School will still open on Mondays during the closure (11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m).

Stay safe and get outside #LakeMurray

Plenty of space for social distancing on the Jewel of South Carolina, Lake Murray – more than 50,000 acres with 500 miles of shoreline and over 75 square miles!

Message from Irmo Mayor

IRMO Citizens:

The COVID-19 pandemic is real. The health and well-being of our family, friends and neighbors is at stake in SC and right here in IRMO. Your Council is working alongside State Officials to make decisions for the health and safety of our residents and businesses. The IRMO Town Council is following the CDC guidelines for Social Distancing and we are conducting business and interacting with the community remotely and virtually.

Effective immediately the Town of IRMO is operating under an “Emergency Protocol” basis. Entry to all Town buildings will be restricted to an “appointment only” basis for the safety of our citizens and our Town employees. This includes Town Hall, the Courthouse and the Police Department. Please call (803-781-7050) if you need to conduct business with these agencies. All Town Parks are officially closed for public use indefinitely. This includes Irmo Community Park, Irmo Town Park and Veteran’s Park. All restaurants and coffee shops within the Town of IRMO are takeout/curbside only. I am aware that some gyms are still operating normally during this time but I advise you to use caution and common sense if you visit one of these facilities.

Many of you have asked about curfews or shelter-in-place orders such as the one that was implemented in the City of Columbia. At this time, Town Council has opted not to adopt one of these ordinances for the Town of Irmo but please keep in mind that this situation is fluid and could change at any time. Again….if you MUST leave your home, PLEASE use common sense and practice Social Distancing while in public.

Based on guidance from CDC, if you think you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus and develop a fever and symptoms, such as dry cough and/or difficulty breathing, please stay home and call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Any questions about your own personal need for testing or quarantine should be directed to your healthcare provider.

Finally WASH YOUR HANDS, COUGH INTO YOUR ELBOW, LIMIT YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH GROUPS LARGER than 10 and TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER. Your IRMO Council is praying for you and your families. We are in this together and we will get through this!


Mayor Barry Walker

Your SC Driver’s License valid thru July 1st

The SC Department of Motor Vehicles recognizes the current state of everyday life has altered due to #COVID19. If you have a driver’s license, permit or vehicle registration about to expire between March 2020 and June 2020, it should be treated valid until July 1, 2020. Here’s the guidelines.

Support Local Small Business

Most of y’all know I eat a lot of fast food. Often. At least twice a day – if not three times.

For those that don’t, you may not be aware that we have many small businesses (food service) still open and trying to make it through this mess.

Today, Isaac (Silver Fox Grille) shared that he had to shut down breakfast and was going to have to let staff go – but he made decision to try to find them hours during lunch so they wouldn’t go broke.

That’s the harsh reality many small businesses are facing – and not just food service.

Keep that in mind and, if you can, support local business!

Stay safe and let me know if I can help you with any state agency during this time. See earlier posts about COVID19 on this site (