SC lawmakers split on idea of statewide mask requirement

Coronavirus

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) — South Carolina lawmakers are split on the whether or not a statewide mask mandate needs to be put in place.

“It’s not a political matter,” District 62 Representative Robert Williams of Darlington said. “It’s public health. Everybody’s health is at risk. That’s how important it is.”

Representative Williams wrote a letter Friday to Governor McMaster suggesting he consider an executive order that would require citizens to wear masks in public places.

“The governing body is going to have to regulate this, have to control this,” he said. “Not just giving people liberty to just walk around not taking care of themselves or people around.”

The letter also asks the governor to require state employees who work in close proximity to mask up.

“It wasn’t my idea,” he said. “It came from a worker who is actually living that as we speak. And I’m pretty sure she’s wearing her mask. But she was concerned enough to share it with me… There are some who are not wearing their mask and they are working within six feet apart.”

Governor McMaster though is apparently not so keen on a statewide mask order.

“We cannot mandate,” McMaster said during a news conference Friday. “It is ineffective. It is impractical to have a mandate that everyone wear a mask because it is not enforceable. And for me to tell you that we are going to require people to wear a mask and not be able enforce it gives a false sense of security.”

McMaster did though urge South Carolinians to wear a mask.

Some lawmakers side with the governor, saying enforcement would be challenging and that the issue should be handled by local leaders.

“Hopefully having local governments work in connection with the governor’s office to determine exactly what is the best approach for these local communities,” District 63 Representative Jay Jordan of Florence said. “As I said earlier, what works in Chesterfield, South Carolina may not be the right approach for Myrtle Beach.”

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