COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is urging South Carolinians to be careful as they gather for Christmas celebrations.
He also said South Carolina will not shut down as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads.
Last week, state health officials confirmed the first three cases of the omicron variant in the Lowcountry. According to school officials at Clemson University, cases of the omicron variant have been detected there as well.
DHEC’s website shows the omicron variant accounted for 4.3% of variants identified in South Carolina the week of December 5.
The Governor says people in South Carolina should go ahead with their Christmas plans. “We’re not going to shut anything down. We can deal with this. We know it’s a dangerous virus. We have vaccines and all kinds of ways to protect ourselves. I just urge everyone to be very careful and have a Merry Christmas,” he said.
Governor McMaster said avoiding a shut down in 2020 and 2021 was key to keeping South Carolina’s economy moving throughout the pandemic. According to the state Department of Employment and Workforce, the state’s unemployment rate in November stands at 3.7%.
He said, “We are booming. We have more investments coming into the state and we hope to keep doing that.”
The Governor also reiterated his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing mandate for businesses with 100 workers from the Biden Administration.
He said the ruling to lift the stay made by an appeals court last Friday was ‘erroneous’. The Governor said he expects the Supreme Court to overrule that when they take it up.
Governor McMaster said, “For the Executive Branch, for the President to require people to get a vaccination has never been done. It’s unprecedented because of the Constitution and I think the Supreme Court understands that.”
The Biden Administration says the mandate is necessary to protect American workers.