McMaster: ‘Mandating masks is not the answer;’ ‘the vaccine works’

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — Gov. Henry McMaster said Tuesday that the COVID-19 vaccine works and “mandating masks is not the answer” after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance that recommends even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with high disease spread.

“The Delta Variant poses a real threat to South Carolinians,” McMaster said. “However, shutting our state down, closing schools and mandating masks is not the answer. Personal responsibility is.”

The CDC issued guidance Tuesday saying masks should be worn indoors in U.S. counties that have “substantial and high” transmission, which would include the entire News13 viewing area — except for Marlboro County, and a majority of the State of South Carolina.

The CDC also said masks should be worn by students in K-12 once school starts in the fall. However, South Carolina law prohibits schools from requiring them.

“State law now prohibits school administrators from requiring students to wear a mask,” McMaster said. “The General Assembly agreed with me — and that decision is now left up to the parents.”

Representative William Bailey, R-Horry County, told News13 he doesn’t see the state changing the law to allow schools to require masks.

McMaster also added that “the vaccine works,” and urged residents who have not been vaccinated to talk to doctors and loved ones to make a decision.

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