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Wedding & Event Venue Near Bishopville, SC.

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Your Magic Moment Awaits

Your wedding day. Without a doubt, it's one of the most significant events you will ever experience - when you and the love of your life officially seal the deal and get married. On this day, your friends and family will gather to celebrate the next step in your life. Photographers will be running around snapping photos, catering plates delicious food for guests to enjoy, and the DJ sets the mood for a night of fun and libation. You've worked extra hard to make everything look perfect and run smoothly. You have examined every moving part down to the tiniest detail. At the center of all your effort is your wedding venue in Bishopville, SC.

Your event space can mean the difference between an unforgettable event and an average occasion. Capturing your uniqueness as a couple is paramount to a memorable wedding. But, without the right venue location and staff, your unforgettable event can turn into a painfully average occasion. Fortunately, at Abney Hall, you won't ever have to worry about dingy reception spaces and crummy chow halls.

Constructed in Bishopville, SC, in 1962, Abney Hall is 15,000 square feet and sits on 500 acres of land, making it a large wedding venue unlike any other. Abney Hall was originally the home of Mrs. Josephine Abney, a Bishopville native who was a lifelong philanthropist. Mrs. Abney devoted much of her time and effort towards supporting charities, educational institutions, hospitals, and other noble efforts. Today, Abney Hall stands tall as a symbol of love, both in our community and for the couples who choose to get married here.

Abney Hall is an exclusive event experience unlike any other, surrounded by verdant forests and sparkling ponds. Our venue is a natural fit for several occasions, including:

Special Event Space Bishopville, SC

Weddings

 Event Venue Bishopville, SC

Bridal Showers

 Event Space Bishopville, SC

Bridal Portraits

 Rehearsal Dinner Venue Bishopville, SC

Rehearsal Dinners

 Bridal Shower Venue Bishopville, SC

Corporate Events

 Business Event Space Bishopville, SC

Much More!

 Wedding Space Bishopville, SC

The Top Wedding Venue in Bishopville, SC

The beginning of your life starts at Abney Hall. With our team by your side, we can create the fairy tale wedding you have dreamed about since childhood. Whether you have 100 guests or 1,000, our waterfront ceremony locations and French-inspired courtyard are perfect for your big day. Celebrate in luxurious style surrounded by shady magnolia trees, a private forest, large ponds, and the beauty of Mother Nature. While our venue location and aesthetic have been praised far and wide, so too have the practical aspects of Abney Hall. Looking for a relaxing, comfortable spot for your bridal party to get ready in? We offer an entire floor in the Abney Hall residence to get the bridal party ready. Want to make your groomsman feel extra-special too? We've got a private, plush house just feet from a sparkling pond that is a proper hangout spot for the guys in your group.

To make life easier on you, we also offer Abney Hall as your go-to spot for rehearsal dinners. Why book an expensive restaurant or travel to another location when unmatched beauty and convenience are right at your fingertips? Abney Hall is just the place for that very important dinner the night before your big day. We are also happy to host your bridal shower at Abney Hall. Our venue makes for one of Bishopville's most unique bridal shower settings, where your family and friends can gather to give gifts and be merry before you walk down the aisle.

With such a large, magnificent house and a vast property, Abney Hall also makes for an unforgettable location for your bridal portraits and other wedding-related photography needs. Don't take our word for it - book a tour and see for yourself why so many new brides and grooms choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Bishopville.

 Wedding Venue Bishopville, SC

What Sets Abney Hall Apart from Other Wedding Venues in Bishopville?

You've already found the person you want to spend the rest of your life beside. The next step? Finding the perfect wedding venue for your ceremony, reception, and celebration of your lifelong commitment to one another. Remember, the backdrop for photos, dancing, eating, and all other activities will be at your wedding venue. That's why we work so hard to set Abney Hall apart from our competitors - so you and your guests can focus on love and living your new life while we work with your vendors and photographers to make your magic night a reality.

Here are just a few reasons why guests choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Bishopville, SC, along with some helpful tips from our experienced wedding venue staff:

Venue Size

Choosing the appropriate-sied venue for your desired guest count is a critical decision. A venue's capacity affects the number of people you need to consider having at your ceremony and reception. As you're first starting out, we recommend having a guest count in mind as you're searching for the right venue. Try to stick with that number. You may fall in love with a particular venue, but if its max capacity can't accommodate your guest count, it may be time to cross them off your list.

 Corporate Conference Hall Bishopville, SC
Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that this is your big day. You shouldn't feel obligated to invite the college roommate you shared a dorm with for one semester. At the end of the day, your wedding venue should be one that can accommodate those closest to you. Abney Hall is equipped for both small and large weddings, consisting of 500 acres of forest, ponds, and lush natural beauty. Whether you want an intimate wedding with only your best friends or a grand ceremony with hundreds of people, we have the right amount of room to make you comfortable.

Location and Nearby Lodging

On your big day, you're likely to have friends and family traveling in from other parts of the state or country. These folks will need a place to stay during and even after your wedding. Accessibility and ease are important factors when it comes to choosing your wedding venue for both you and your guests.

Located in Bishopville, SC, Abney Hall is situated in a memorable, natural setting, giving your wedding a private vibe in the midst of Mother Nature. While we pride ourselves on having a secluded wedding event space, our venue is within an easy driving distance of hotels and vacation rentals.

Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

When you contact us for a tour, make sure to speak with our experienced venue manager about nearby hotels and shuttle service options. We understand that your guest's comfort and convenience are important, and we're happy to work with you to figure out the best way to get your guests to Abney Hall.

Venue Staff

At Abney Hall, our staff has earned its reputation as one of the industry's most friendly, accessible teams. We will provide you with a purpose-minded point of contact that can help answer questions relating to timelines, preferred vendors, and every aspect of your wedding. When you tour our wedding venue in Bishopville, SC, for the first time, we want you to feel like you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

We would be happy to go over:
  • Venue Pricing
  • Ceremony Specifics
  • Reception Specifics
  • Catering Possibilities
  • Decorating Possibilities
  • Entertainment Options
  • Photography and Photo Opportunities
  • Venue Amenities
  • Bridal Party Needs
  • Groomsman Needs

At Abney Hall, our goal is to be your first resource when it comes to setting up and coordinating the details of your wedding day.

Decor

When it comes to your wedding's decor, you probably already have a few ideas in mind. We love it when our brides and grooms have a vision in mind because one of our greatest joys is turning that vision into a reality. At Abney Hall, our team is available to help you and your decorator fit, accent, and accommodate your fairy-tale wedding - whatever that may be.

Are you looking to dress up your wedding with decorations galore? Just want to add a few accents that tie into your preferred color palette? Abney Hall is versatile and ready to help however we are able.

 Reception Hall Bishopville, SC
Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

If you're thinking about bringing in your own greenery, lighting, floral pieces, and more, we recommend discussing your vision with us on your initial tour of our event space. That way, we can get a head start on making your big day exactly how you envision it.

Photo Opportunities

10 years from now, when you and your spouse are celebrating your anniversary, you will pull out photographs from your wedding and will reminisce about the unforgettable time you spent at Abney Hall. Your wedding photos will be with you forever, and as such, we work closely with you and your photographer to suggest extra-special photo op spots that you can only find on Abney Hall grounds.

From the grand staircase and French-inspired courtyard to our manicured gardens and lovely pond, there is no shortage of photo-op locations for your photographer to choose from. As one of the most popular wedding venues in Bishopville, SC, we have worked with dozens of photographers over the years.

Our experience has allowed us to cultivate a list of preferred photographers - all of whom have the talent to take your pictures to the next level in a setting they're familiar with. We encourage you to check out our gallery to get a sense of the scope of our wedding venue and gain inspiration from other happy couples.

Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip

The gallery on our website is extensive but be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well. We keep our social pages updated with recent wedding photographs, giving you an incredible resource that you can use for your own photography purposes.

Special Event Space Bishopville, SC

The Premier Corporate Event Venue in Bishopville, SC

Abney Hall is known across the United States for our stunning weddings, but we also play host to some of the largest corporate events in South Carolina. Why choose a bland, lifeless meeting space when you can enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature coupled with a professional atmosphere? If you have an important team-building event or corporate conference that you have to coordinate, look no further than Abney Hall.

The epitome of class and style, our corporate event space is large, lavish, and chock-full of onsite amenities for you and your co-workers to enjoy. If your team needs a morale boost, don't bring them to the local Olive Garden for a cheap lunch. Treat them to a refreshing experience in our main dining room, where we can work with you to incorporate your catering options with the goals of your event.

When the hard work is done, and your team needs a breather, what better way to relax than with a quick dip in our pool? To burn off a little steam, head over to our brand-new tennis court - the perfect place to get some exercise in an ultra-private setting while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Don't forget to bring your fishing poles for a couple of hours of fishing. There's even an opportunity to go hunting if you wish.

 Event Venue Bishopville, SC

Elegance at Its Finest - Only
a Phone Call Away

If you're ready to learn more about Abney Hall as your wedding venue, don't hesitate to reach out. We would love to hear more about your plans, your vision, and your needs. We know that planning a wedding isn't easy. It takes time, attention to detail, and a whole lot of patience. Our goal is to help provide you with all the info you need to learn more about our venue. Once you decide on a date, we'll work closely with you and your vendors to craft a wedding experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Our available dates for your big day are going quick, especially during peak seasons like spring and fall. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Contact us today for a FREE initial consultation
 Event Space Bishopville, SC

Latest News in Bishopville, SC

Hole in SC school roof draws concern; district says it's doing best it can

The hole in a Lee County school roof has frustrated the community for 5 years. But school officials and state records show nearby structures are safe for students.BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — A Lee County school has a giant hole in its roof that's raising concerns among the community. But school officials say they're making do with the surrounding structure - and that areas still being used are safe.Inspection records give new insight into why learning is still taking place in other parts of the building.News19 first brough...

The hole in a Lee County school roof has frustrated the community for 5 years. But school officials and state records show nearby structures are safe for students.

BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — A Lee County school has a giant hole in its roof that's raising concerns among the community. But school officials say they're making do with the surrounding structure - and that areas still being used are safe.

Inspection records give new insight into why learning is still taking place in other parts of the building.

News19 first brought you the story of the sizable hole in the roof of Dennis Elementary in Bishopville on Thursday, after a concerned citizen contacted us. That caller also raised questions about the safety of the students and faculty members who are in the building each day.

We found that the hole had been in the roof for at least 5 years—which was when the district renovated a part of the Dennis building so students could receive their education there. This move happened due to problems with space and the structure at the old elementary school.

While the district agrees that the roof itself looks bad, in an interview Thursday with WLTX, the superintendent said there’s no immediate danger to the students and staff in the building.

“It’s unfortunate that students are being educated in a building here, with that attached to it. I grant you that," Superintendent Bernard McDaniel said. "We’re working on a plan to address that. But we do not have a surplus of funds to just address things like that.”

According to an inspection record News19 obtained from the State Department of Education, this past July, the state fire marshal’s office and state education officials agreed that there was “no immediate concern as the safety measures implemented to date are adequate.”

They also noted that the occupied portion of the building is a "separate and safe 'building/fire area,'" making the observation that the abandoned portion is at the rear and physically away from the normal operations of the school.

“My thought is I just pray for their safety and to make sure they don’t come home being sick," said Kanisha Davis who has a daughter who attends Dennis Elementary.

She doesn’t trust the building.

“They have it where one side is, like, decent but I still don’t trust that because there’s a big hole and mold and anything could have been all in that school, could be in that school," Davis said. "They built a high school, they built a new middle school, why not build a new elementary school for the kids? That’s what I would love to see done."

District officials said they are doing what they can until they have the money needed to make that happen.

“We know that our students deserve a better facility than this. But until we can get the funds, until the state provides the funds, the county provides the funds, the community vote if there is a referendum to build a new school to improve, we’ve got to do what we can to make sure that it’s safe and it's cosmetically pleasing to our students with what we have. And that’s what we’ve done," McDaniel said.

In the inspection from the Department of Education, they recommended a chain-link fence to surround the building with trespass warnings. The state agency also recommended that the district contact the S.C. Department of Education Office of School Facilities regarding funding possibilities.

Renowned topiary garden makes a comeback with help from UofSC

McKissick Museum leads the effort to restore SC landmark Back in 2014, Mike Gibson was proud of his “property art” — sculptures he carved in the foliage of trees and shrubs — so he showed some photos of his work to his dad.“I did a huge sculpture that I thought was a game changer,” says Gibson, who lived in Ohio at the time. “I thought no one else was doing this type of thing.”But his dad set the record straight. It’s not “property art,” it’s topia...

McKissick Museum leads the effort to restore SC landmark

Back in 2014, Mike Gibson was proud of his “property art” — sculptures he carved in the foliage of trees and shrubs — so he showed some photos of his work to his dad.

“I did a huge sculpture that I thought was a game changer,” says Gibson, who lived in Ohio at the time. “I thought no one else was doing this type of thing.”

But his dad set the record straight. It’s not “property art,” it’s topiary. And South Carolina’s Pearl Fryar was king of topiary.

So Gibson made a pilgrimage to Bishopville, South Carolina, to see the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden in person. He walked the well-worn paths through the 3-acre garden, following in the footsteps of countless schoolchildren, vacationers and aspiring topiary artists who had looked there for inspiration. He spent hours talking to Fryar, known as the nation’s preeminent African American topiary artist, and learning about his techniques.

“I fell in love with not just Pearl, but also with topiary.” Gibson says. “Seeing his sculptures in person and meeting him, and seeing how he was doing it, inspired me even more.”

Today, Gibson spends a lot more time in Fryar’s garden. With a pair of shears and the occasional use of power hedge trimmers, he snips bits and pieces of holly bushes and trees to refine their shape. Gibson is the topiary artist-in-residence for the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, and his job is to restore Fryar’s living sculptures to the shape that thousands of visitors from around the world enjoyed for years.

“It was kind of full circle that I even had this opportunity,” Gibson says. “He’s a direct inspiration for my work and the work I've been doing over the years.”

So how did Gibson, a landscaper and topiary artist from Ohio, end up renovating a garden in rural South Carolina on behalf of a museum at the state’s flagship university? To answer that question, you must first understand what the garden means to people far and wide.

Fryar first saw topiary art while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and he later decided he wanted to experiment with it himself. In the mid-1980s, he started crafting topiary sculptures on his property in South Carolina, often transplanting throwaway plants from local nurseries, nourishing them to health and trimming branches to bring his ideas to life.

The swirling shapes and whimsical designs in living trees caught the eye of visitors. The garden’s message — love, peace and goodwill, spelled out in larger-than-life letters made from garden beds — caught on, too.

“It truly was inspiring,” says Bettye Scott, a longtime friend and former neighbor of Fryar. “I personally witnessed a lot of the hours and efforts he put into it. Because of that transformation, people from all over the world have come to view that garden.”

Fryar has been on national television and in major gardening magazines, and his garden became a global tourist stop. Fryar’s artistry also can be seen along streets in Bishopville, at the State Museum in Columbia and on the South Carolina campus. Fryar and his garden were the subject of the award-winning 2006 documentary, A Man Named Pearl. Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, Fryar was in talks with the Atlanta Botanical Garden about doing topiary sculptures there.

“The legend should be maintained because of what he's been able to do,” Scott says. “We should work hard to maintain it because of the impact it’s had on the nation.”

Preserving this garden is just the right thing to do.

Jane Przybysz, director of the McKissick Museum

But as America grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, Fryar’s health was declining with age. The 81-year-old topiary artist speaks matter-of-factly.

“I can't do what I used to do,” he says.

In November 2020, Jane Przybysz, director of the McKissick Museum at South Carolina, got a phone call from a teacher who took students on field trips to Fryar’s garden and was concerned about the garden becoming overgrown. Because the museum had worked with community gardens in Columbia, the teacher wondered if Przybysz could help Fryar with his garden.

Neither Przybysz nor her staff are topiary artists, but she immediately wanted to help. In her mind, it is more than a garden. It’s a monument to African American resilience in shaping the Southern landscape.

Community members in Bishopville came to multiple town hall meetings to express their hopes for the garden’s long-term viability as well.

“They are just passionate about preserving this garden,” Przybysz says. “They think it’s really important for the world of horticulture, and I think it’s important from a social justice perspective. Preserving this garden is just the right thing to do.”

A grant from the Central Carolina Community Foundation made it possible for the museum to support efforts to revitalize the garden. Przybysz contacted the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which agreed to help. In March 2021, they sent staff members to trim some of the topiary sculptures that needed immediate attention. Gibson was there that day, revisiting the place that meant so much to him (since 2014, he had been back several times, including one time to propose to his wife). When he saw crews working to restore the garden, he picked up a set of shears and started helping.

Przybysz drove from Columbia to Bishopville to meet Gibson, who was enthusiastic about getting involved.

“I pitched her on, how do I become a part of this project? What do I need to do to be a part of this?” Gibson says.

This summer, Gibson moved his family from Ohio to South Carolina so he could focus on Fryar’s garden full time. Even while moving at a good clip, it will take a full year to restore the garden. After that, he plans to turn his attention to ongoing maintenance. He also will teach topiary techniques to people in the Bishopville community inspired to follow in Fryar’s footsteps.

“I see this as a long-haul project,” he says.

But people already are noticing the work in the garden. Gibson recently sent Przybysz a photo showing Fryar at the doorway of his house lecturing to a group of college students, and a tour group from China reached out to schedule a visit for 2022.

Przybysz says she hopes the renewed attention to Fryar’s garden will lead to long-term solutions to preserve it for years.

“It’s the right thing, it's the right time, and Mike is the right person to be leading it,” Przybysz says. “He sees himself as a protégé of Pearl. He's passionate about what Pearl has done and wants to preserve his legacy.”

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Pearl Fryar’s Living Legacy Continues

The treasured South Carolina artist and topiary gardener now trains an apprenticePearl Fryar’s medium is plants. His message is crystal clear even among his forest of swaying green creatures, his topiary garden spread across three acres in Bishopville, South Carolina. Now in his eighties, Fryar planted his garden over decades and opened it to the public in the 1980s.As a young man, when he worked full-time in a can fac...

The treasured South Carolina artist and topiary gardener now trains an apprentice

Pearl Fryar’s medium is plants. His message is crystal clear even among his forest of swaying green creatures, his topiary garden spread across three acres in Bishopville, South Carolina. Now in his eighties, Fryar planted his garden over decades and opened it to the public in the 1980s.

As a young man, when he worked full-time in a can factory, Fryar rescued plants from the cast-off pile of a nearby nursery, and then guided every single stem. With a chainsaw, he shaped bushes and trees into whimsical arches and curves. Fryar’s topiary garden became a local sensation, and then a national one. Over time, his abstract-art garden—and his message of love, displayed on signs throughout the yard, and voiced in interviews—brought tourists from around the world.

But as Fryar aged, the garden declined. (I’m a Southern horticulturalist and garden designer myself. Over the decades, gardens I’ve left change, grow, and sometimes die.) Easy sinuous swirls got fuzzy and sluggish. Lumps grew in branches, and sympodial sprouts went wild. Plans for saving the garden started and stopped in fits.

In March 2021, a young man named Mike Gibson returned for a visit. Gibson’s connection to topiary began when Gibson was just a little kid growing up in Ohio. “My Dad was a Navy man, like a drill sergeant,” Gibson remembers. “Every Saturday morning, he had us in the yard doing work. At seven years old, I fell in love with pruning bushes.”

“My dad was also an artist,” Gibson says. “Later, when I went to art college, painting fell flat for me. I hadn’t found my medium. But I still loved to prune. One morning, Dad saw one of my abstract-shaped bushes. He said, ‘You need to go see Pearl Fryar in South Carolina.’”

The name confused Gibson. “Who is she? Who’s this lady?” he remembers thinking. “I looked up this ‘lady’ named Pearl and what I saw blew my mind.” Fryar is a tall man, all muscle. Built like a superhero of the plant world. “I already knew about topiary artists. I thought there probably were not any black men topiary artists. I drove from Ohio to South Carolina and blew my mind again.” Gibson found a role model.

“As a young man, I’d work with Pearl each summer,” Gibson says. “Then I went back to Ohio, and I developed my own style, my own landscape business. I’d even been on HGTV, doing topiary in New York.”

In 2021, when Gibson drove to South Carolina to check in, he was shocked by the state of the garden. “I came down and found some landscapers working. They said Pearl was very sick,” Gibson says. “It’d taken him a few years to accept the help, so the garden was really in ruin. Before I even said hello to Pearl, one of the guys with hedge trimmers led me to the folks who were spearheading the renovation.” He met Jane Przybysz, the executive director of the McKissick Museum in Columbia, South Carolina, and Amanda Bennett, vice president of horticulture and collections at Atlanta Botanical Garden. “After interviews and negotiations and talking to Pearl, I became the Topiary Artist in Residence at Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden.”

Gibson and his wife and three-year-old moved to South Carolina. “With so many people and institutions involved, I hope we can reach even more children, more people,” Gibson says. “Anybody can learn topiary.”

It was meant to be. From his Dad’s inspiration, Fryar’s mentorship, and Gibson’s own need to speak to the world through topiary, the garden is on track to teach peace and love through creativity once again.

In the long run, what might happen to a home garden, a singular vision like Fryar’s? Besides all the care it needs, this garden faces big questions. How is Fryar’s vision documented and preserved? Is there a database of plants and sculptures? A guide book to living art? What sorts of plant labels identify the plants? As things die, who decides on replacement species and style? Will there be classes, weddings, or plant sales? And critically, who pays for all of that?

Volunteers from across the South have helped by providing everything from labor to loads of mulch. “We’re still in recovery mode,” Bennett says. “Mike’s the perfect person for this, and has garnered the help of so many South Carolina botanical gardeners, like the staff and volunteers from Riverbanks Botanical Garden.”

Bennett also shared a note of hope from the Atlanta Botanical Garden: “The world needs this garden, this vision,” she says. “We’re figuring all that out now. We are here for the long haul to help secure the future of this garden.”

Most South Carolina public gardens started out as pleasure gardens on plantations or were established by rich businessmen in the 1900s. Fryar’s is the only topiary garden in the country, the world, that was birthed, trained, caressed, and spoken to life with the voice of an African American man, a farm kid turned factory worker turned self-taught artist. Children once inspired by Fryar now seek their own passions. They make decisions about our world. And some, like Mike Gibson, return.

“Finding passion. That’s what Pearl is about,” Gibson says. “He spoke to every child who ever felt the world had given up on them, who couldn’t see the light. He said to them, in words and through his art, ‘You are a treasure. Find your passion, work hard at it and it will pay off and you’ll live a dream. Like I am. I know. I was one of you.’”

Bishopville enacts new emergency mask ordinance for patrons, employees of local businesses

The ordinance will remain in effect for up to 60 days unless extended by the city council.BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — A South Carolina city is implementing a new mask ordinance for local businesses following the recent spike in COVID cases across the state.In a recent meeting, the Bishopville City Council voted unanimously in favor of enacting the new ordinance, which will apply to "retail, foodservice, and other establishments" within the city. A spokesperson for the city said that only one member wasn't in attendance ...

The ordinance will remain in effect for up to 60 days unless extended by the city council.

BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — A South Carolina city is implementing a new mask ordinance for local businesses following the recent spike in COVID cases across the state.

In a recent meeting, the Bishopville City Council voted unanimously in favor of enacting the new ordinance, which will apply to "retail, foodservice, and other establishments" within the city. A spokesperson for the city said that only one member wasn't in attendance but had previously expressed his support for the item.

"The state is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of identified new COVID-19 cases," the resolution states, pointing to recent case reports from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) as well as health advisories from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"If COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the State and in the city, the demand for medical, pharmaceutical, personal, and general cleaning supplies may overwhelm sources of supply," the ordinance continues. "The private and public sector workforce may be negatively impacted by absenteeism, and the demand for medical facilities may exceed locally available resources."

The ordinance also cites state laws that allow the council to enact emergency ordinances that can last as long as 60 days unless canceled early.

The ordinance, as provided to News19, suggests it went into effect at noon on Friday and applies to all customers in enclosed areas of any retail or foodservice establishment.

Staff is also required to wear face coverings "while working in areas open to the general public and areas in which interactions with other staff are likely in which social distancing of at least six feet cannot be observed."

The ordinance also applies to public buildings operated by the City of Bishopville for both customers and staff. It also emphasizes this for staff and employees while having face-to-face interaction with the public or while working in areas open to the general public.

The ordinance does list several exemptions including outdoor or unenclosed areas that belong to businesses and food service establishments where six feet of distance is possible.

People whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face-covering are also exempt as are those who cannot wear a mask due to age, underlying health, medical or behavioral issues.

Caretakers are told to make reasonable efforts to mask children between two and eight years of age while inside enclosed areas.

Customers of food service establishments are also exempt while eating and private or individual offices are exempt in general.

Church and religious activities are also exempt from the ordinance as well as settings where it is "not practical or feasible" to wear a face-covering such as dental services or swimming.

Finally, residents "while exclusively with members of a family or the same household" where no person other than the family or household is within the same enclosed area are exempt.

As for those who are not exempt who violate the ordinance, they could face a fine of up to $25 per day of non-compliance. Repeated violations by establishments could also lead to suspension or revocation of various permits and licenses from the city.

Lawsuit over South Carolina execution methods allowed to move forward

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A judge ruled Thursday that a lawsuit brought by four death row inmates challenging South Carolina’s execution methods can move forward as the state attempts to carry out its first execution in more than a decade.Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman agreed to a request by the prisoners’ lawyers to closely examine officials’ claims that they can’t secure lethal injection drugs, leaving the electric chair and ...

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A judge ruled Thursday that a lawsuit brought by four death row inmates challenging South Carolina’s execution methods can move forward as the state attempts to carry out its first execution in more than a decade.

Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman agreed to a request by the prisoners’ lawyers to closely examine officials’ claims that they can’t secure lethal injection drugs, leaving the electric chair and the firing squad as the only options for capital punishment.

Attorneys for the inmates, who have largely exhausted their appeals, argued that dying by gunshot or electrocution would be a brutal process which violates a state ban on cruel, corporal and unusual punishments, and that prison officials have shown little proof they can’t get the drugs needed to carry out lethal injections instead.

READ MORE: New law in South Carolina makes inmates choose electric chair or firing squad

The decision comes a week after the state Supreme Court scheduled the April 29 execution of Richard Bernard Moore, who has spent more than two decades on death row after being convicted of the 1999 killing of convenience store clerk James Mahoney in Spartanburg.

Moore, 57, is also first state prisoner to face the choice of execution methods after a law went into effect last year making electrocution the default and giving inmates the option to face three prison workers with rifles instead when lethal injection isn’t an option. State law requires him to make that choice by Friday.

Lawyers for the state, who wanted the case dismissed, argued that neither electrocution nor the firing squad are cruel, corporal or unusual forms of punishment, noting the long history of both methods across the country.

WATCH: How obtaining identification can complicate the road from prison

Grayson Lambert, representing Gov. Henry McMaster, said the judge shouldn’t let the prisoners continue to extend their legal challenges to stall their executions as prison officials try to carry out the new law.

“It’s telling that in every case where there is a plaintiff challenging the method, he always says the method he is facing is worse,” Lambert said.

Newman previously denied a request last year by two death row prisoners, Freddie Owens and Brad Sigmon, seeking to block their scheduled executions with similar arguments. Those executions were later halted by the state Supreme Court because prisons officials had yet to set up a firing squad.

If executed as scheduled, Moore would be the first person put to death in the state since 2011. His attorneys are also asking a federal judge to halt Moore’s execution and declare both the electric chair and firing squad unconstitutional under federal law, among other legal challenges.

Moore’s lawyers have asked the state Supreme Court stop the execution given the ongoing litigation. The high court has yet to rule on the request.

South Carolina is one of eight states to still use the electric chair and one of four to allow a firing squad, according to the Washington-based nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center.

There are 35 people, all men, currently on South Carolina’s death row.

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