Gov. McMaster urges caution as COVID-19 restrictions are eased

VIDEO: Gov. McMaster urges caution as COVID-19 restrictions are eased

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster is warning South Carolinians who are ready to get out of the house not to let their guard down against COVID-19.

"We have to be just as careful now as we were before," McMaster said. "We now know the dimensions of the virus, we know it is highly contagious, we know it is highly deadly particularly if you're weak if you're older or have underlying conditions. We've learned a lot about it but we just have to be smart and we have to continue the social distancing. Those kind of practices are easy to do if you just remember."

He said if a new spike in cases were to appear, they are prepared to restore restrictions if necessary. But he said he does not expect that to happen. He said if people follow the guidance and recommendations from his AccelerateSC task force, he does not expect there to be a spike.

"We've gone from hiding from the virus, now we're confronting it and we're trying to limit it," he said.

McMaster acknowledged he has lost two friends to COVID-19.

“People are dying and will continue to die because of the virus,” he said.

But he says he believes South Carolina will be in better shape than most of the other states because of the strength of its citizens.

Asked what keeps him up at night, McMaster says he does not want to see the Palmetto State lag behind.

“For years, around in our state the governor’s the mayors and council and all the elected people; the business leaders, those in education, those spiritual leaders, everyone, we have done a remarkable job of taking a beautiful, gorgeous place, and with our great Judeo-Christian tradition and our great military tradition, and the strength of our people, we have developed something that is known around the world as being a unique place in America. They call us the handshake state,” he said. “People in South Carolina give you their word. They’ll keep it. They’re determined, they’re strong, they’re smart, and that’s why these businesses have from all over water come here and while those that are here growing so.”

He said the state had been on an upward incline with growth and prosperity, even touting the lowest unemployment rate in the country for a time.

“We had about 60,000 jobs, good jobs, looking for people,” he said. “Usually it’s the other way around: people and there are no jobs. We had the jobs. I just hoped this is a pause, and that is all it is, in our economic growth because I see South Carolina is having the potential of being a model state for the rest of the country.”

VIDEO: McMaster: 'We've still got to be just as careful' as COVID-19 restrictions are eased

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