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McMaster presses for local leaders to enact mask orders

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will hold a briefing Wednesday afternoon just as over 85,000 residents have tested positive for COVID-19.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will hold a briefing Wednesday afternoon just as over 85,000 residents have tested positive for COVID-19.((Source: Jason Raven))
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 3:39 PM EDT
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WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) - While he says he is unable to enact a statewide mask order, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has pressed forward with a tactical plan to make sure people are wearing masks.

McMaster 7/29

LIVE NOW: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is speaking on the state's response to COVID-19.

Posted by News 12 NBC 26 on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

McMaster called upon on all municipalities and local governments to enact mask ordinances to help stem the tide of COVID-19.

“This is a time for local leadership,” McMaster said. “Local leadership is the answer to where we’re going. If we’re hoping for the best, but we need to prepare for the worst, the way to prepare for the worst is to have local leadership involved in stopping the spread of the virus and keeping the people safe. One size does not fit all.”

McMaster’s news conference unveiled a whole new suite of measures to stop the spread of the virus. Many of these measures are set to start on Aug. 3.

To start, McMaster is ordering residents to wear masks in all government buildings across the state.

McMaster is also turning several “recommendations” by AccelerateED into mandates -- mainly mandates targetting bars and restaurants.

The following guidelines for restaurants that had been previously recommended are now mandatory which include the following:

  • Operating dine-in services at no more than 50% of the certificate of occupancy issued by the fire marshal.
  • Employees and patrons shall be required to wear masks or face coverings.
  • Tables are to be spaced to keep diners at least 6 feet apart.
  • No more than eight customers per table unless from the same family.
  • Standing or congregating in the bar area of a restaurant is prohibited.
  • Establishments that possess a state permit to sell alcohol shall be subject to these restrictions.

The governor also said he’s allowing large gatherings at places like stadiums and arenas with certain caveats such as reduced occupancy, social distancing, and mandating face coverings. However, McMaster said, there are exceptions and clarifications that can be granted by the state Department of Commerce.

But McMaster continues to press residents to take the proper precautions.

“That means you’ve got to wear a mask,” McMaster said. “You got to keep that distance, you got to wash your hands, you got to be careful.”

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