On Monday, August 21, the City of Columbia will experience a Total Solar Eclipse and all citizens are encouraged to please take preventive measures to ensure your safety and security while traveling and viewing the eclipse. The City of Columbia provides definitive information on the sequence of the total Solar Eclipse and how to safely view the eclipse with your eclipse glasses.


For a comprehensvie document of the preparations for the Total Solar Eclipse, you can download this Eclipse Operations Response Report


City Offices to Open on August 21

The City of Columbia will be open for business on Monday, August 21 with services being suspended in a a few locations from 12 - 3 p.m. The locations that will be closed during the Total Solar Eclipse are: all City Payment Centers; Customer Care, Business Licensing, Zoning, Planning and Development in the Washington Square Building (1136 Washington St.); Municipal Court (811 Washington St.), Human Resources (1225 Lady St.) and Parking Services Office (820 Washington St.).   

Frequently Asked Questions 

The City of Columbia has produced a list of frequently asked questions to assist citizens with some of the questions they may have regarding the Total Solar Eclipse. Click here to view those questions. 

The City of Columbia is will experience the Total Solar Eclipse during the following hours:
Eclipse begins at 1:13 p.m. – eclipse glasses on
Totality begins at 2:41 p.m. – eclipse glasses off
Totality ends at 2:44 p.m. – eclipse glasses on
End of eclipse at 4:06 p.m.  

We have also created an image to ensure you have a better understanding as to when to wear your Eclipse glasses. To download this file, click here
We have also created an image to ensure you have a better understanding as to when to wear your Eclipse glasses. To download this file, click here

Safety Tips

Download our list of helpful Safety Tips


Map of Events and Public Viewing Sites 

The City of Columbia has created a map that displays the Total Eclipse Weekend events as well as locations that are allowing public viewing of the eclipse. Click here to view the map. 
The City of Columbia has a number of parking and as public viewing sites on Monday, August 21. 
Solar eclipse glasses will be available for guests while supplies last.
Restrooms, portable toilets, hand washing stations and manifolds (water stations) will be available on site.
Guests are encouraged to bring water bottles and fill them at the water stations. 
Click here to download a map of the City Parks and facilities that will be open. 


The City of Columbia’s Parking Services Division has announced upcoming parking options for the Total Solar Eclipse weekend Saturday, August 19 – August 21, 2017. The following parking decks will be open for the public Saturday, Sunday and Monday: Washington Street Deck, Taylor Street Deck, Lady Street Deck, Park Street Deck, Lincoln Street Deck and PJ Cannon
The following City surface lots will be available for parking during the eclipse weekend: Sumter Street lot, Devine Street lot and Harden Street/Exxon lot. The Convention Center lot will be available for parking only on Monday, August 21. All surface lots event parking rates may apply only on Monday, August 21, cash only.
On-street parking will operate as normal. Monthly account parkers will park as normal, however need to have their parking credential with them (access card/parking permit) otherwise event rates apply.
For a map of the parking locations, click here


Fire Department Operations

The City of Columbia Fire Department prevention staff and special operation resources will be assigned to key venues during Total Solar Eclipse Weekend. The Operations Division will be flexible enough to staff as needed in areas of concerns such as density of population and if a certain day or area becomes more populated.
“Prior to the total solar eclipse weekend our fire prevention staff has worked on pre-inspections for the number of events that will be occurring on Saturday, August 19 – Monday, August 21,” said Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, Columbia Fire Department Chief. “Our intentions are to make our residents and visitors safe by conducting these pre-inspections. We have been meeting to discuss how we’re planning to have extra personnel on duty for the eclipse weekend and especially on Monday, August 21 in preparation for the large crowd.”

Police Department Operations

the City of Columbia Police Department has prepared a strategic plan for operating and keeping everyone safe during the total solar eclipse weekend. A higher level of law enforcement than normal will be on duty this weekend to keep residents and visitors safe. The Columbia Police Department encourages all residents of Columbia to be patient during traffic congestion, do not stop on shoulders of highways to view the eclipse and remain in a safe environment for this exciting experience.    
The Columbia Police Department will be using the following safety tips:
-These tips are from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division
  • Start planning now for where you will go to view the eclipse and make sure you're prepared.
  • Prepare in advance to take care of your normal weekend activities.
  • Fill your car up with gas and buy groceries before the weekend.
  • Even if you do not plan to participate in any eclipse-related activities, expect heavy traffic and extremely busy areas in much of South Carolina.  
  • Welcome to South Carolina! We hope you have a chance to Discover South Carolina and everything our beautiful state has to offer.
  • Follow the guidance of local public safety officials and your event organizers. County emergency managers, local police and fire fighters know their communities and how best to direct you to where you would like to go.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination throughout the weekend. Traffic will be heavy with large crowds going to and from events all weekend.
  • Once you get to your eclipse event, stay there until well after the eclipse is over. 
  • If you are driving during the eclipse, KEEP MOVING. Do not stop your vehicle along interstates or any roadway.
  •   August in South Carolina means it will be HOT. Be prepared for extreme heat.
  • Make sure you have bottled water, sunscreen, first aid kit and protective eyewear like certified eclipse viewing glasses.
  •   Take time to become familiar with our emergency plans and know what to do in the event of a hurricane, an earthquake or any type of severe weather and large-scale emergency.
  •  Call 9-1-1 for life-safety emergencies only.
  •  Make sure family members or friends back home know your schedule, when you are expected to return and your plan if something happens.
  • Prepare for a big jump in customers. Grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, restaurants, transportation services, coffee shops, retail stores, urgent care clinics and many other establishments will experience a jump in business. Order goods and schedule staff accordingly. 
  • Be aware that many visitors will be camping in both authorized and unauthorized locations; expect customers who may be primarily interested in using restrooms. 
  • Encourage employees to have a full tank of gas prior to the time visitors begin to arrive in the area.  Lines for fuel may occur and you’ll want staff to be able to get to work.
  • Be prepared for more cash transactions and potential challenges with credit/debit card transactions taking longer than usual because of increased volumes.  Consider having tills set up to accommodate more cash transactions.
  •   Be prepared for cell service overloads; there may be service disruptions due to the increase in visitors using networks. Visitors may have urgent requests to use your business telephone line if they are having trouble with cell service.  Decide how you want to handle these requests and make sure employees know what to do.
  • Talk to suppliers. Some suppliers may be considering delivery schedule changes due to the event(s).  Suppliers may also be looking at how the increased traffic on rural roads may impact delivery times.
  • It is advisable that viewers use eclipse glasses (sunglasses are NOT enough) when looking at the sun before and after totality. There may be glasses for sale or for free at viewing locations, but feel free to purchase some on your own and sell them at your store. 
The Columbia Police Department officers will be stationed at various major intersections throughout the City to prevent traffic congestion and assist drivers/visitors as they begin their trek to view the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. 
As of now, there are no planned street closures for Monday, August 21, 2017.
CPD Officers have been given their weekend assignments, many of which involve manning heavily-traveled intersections and monitoring traffic and crowds at various locations including:
Major Intersections:
Assembly & Gervais Streets
Assembly & Taylor Streets
Assembly & Hampton Streets
Assembly & Laurel Streets
Assembly St. & Elmwood Avenue
Huger & Hampton Streets
Huger & Taylor Streets
Huger & Laurel Streets
Interstate I-126
Blossom & Huger Streets
Blossom & Assembly Streets
Elmwood Avenue & Main Street
Elmwood Avenue & Bull Street
Bull Street & Colonial Drive
Bull & Harden Streets
Entertainment Districts:
Five Points
The Vista
Main Street Corridor
Devine Street Corridor
Green Street Corridor
Riverfront Park
Finlay Park
South East Park
Additional Locations:
SC State Museum
Edventure Children’s Museum
Coble Plaza
Drew Wellness Center
City Garages
Owens Field Park 
Columbia Fireflies Traffic:
At the conclusion of the game, Monday, August 21, 2017, CPD officers will direct traffic out of Spirit Communications Park toward Bull Street (southbound) to 277.
Drivers on Colonial Drive will be routed to 277 from Harden Street. This effort will lessen potential traffic congestion after the game.
CPD and its law enforcement partner agencies will also be housed at the City of Columbia’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to mitigate concerns or issues, and answer calls for service.
Media Parking/Staging Areas:
Coble Plaza                           The lower parking lot to the left of Edventure Children’s Museum.
Senate & Gist Streets        There is a small parking lot at the corner of these roads. 
                                            A walking path is connected from this parking lot to Coble Plaza and has beautiful views of the Gervais Street Bridge.
Finlay Park                         Several metered spaces along the Taylor Street side of the park will bagged for limited parking. 
Owens Field                       Parking will be available in the grass area (to the right after entering the driveway). 
Southeast Park                  Parking will be available in the upper area of the main parking lot.  From Hazelwood, drivers will enter the third driveway on the left.
Parking is available to media representatives on the first-come, first-served basis.
Call 9-1-1 for emergencies only.  The non-emergency dispatch number is (803) 252-2911.
Stay Connected:
Be sure to monitor Columbia Police Department (CPD) before, during and after the Total Solar Eclipse: https://elink.io/p/columbia-police-department-sc


Columbia-Richland Alerts (CRA)

The City of Columbia and Richland County have partnered and created multiple ways for citizens to receive Columbia-Richland Alerts (CRA). The  Columbia-Richland Alerts is an program designed to provide citizens with time-sensitive information. The types of messages citizens can receive from the CRA system are: public safety, community events, water/sewer, severe weather, public meetings/hearings, traffic safety, street closures and community awareness. Citizens can receive these alerts through text messages, email (personal/work), home phone, business phone, cell phone and other devices.
The Columbia-Richland 9-1-1 will be disturbing information through the (CRA) Columbia-Richland Alerts system about the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse to raise awareness to all citizens of Columbia and Richland County.
The City of Columbia encourages all residents of the Columbia and Richland County to register for these alerts.
Register to receive alerts about the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.