WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster said he will not enact a face mask mandate saying it would not be enforceable throughout South Carolina.
“It is ineffective, it is impractical to have a mandate to have everyone wear a mask, because it is not enforceable,” McMaster said during Friday afternoon’s press conference.
The governor said issuing a mandate to wear a mask and not be able to enforce it gives a false sense of security for those who believe that everybody is following the rules.
“There’s no power on Earth that can follow everyone in the state around to be sure that they are following the rules,” he said.
The governor continued to urge the public to wear a mask and practice social distancing. “Wear a mask, wear a mask, wear mask,” he said during Friday’s presser.
McMaster said state health officials have more information about COVID-19, and stressed that it was up to individuals to help stop the spread of the virus.
”We know more now than we did to stop it, but it’s up to the individual,” he said. ”There’s no way we can make somebody do something they just don’t want to do.”
The governor did say that cities have some authority to issue mandates on face masks, and pointed out that every municipality has different circumstances.
“If they want to impose a reasonable legal limitation, then there’s no obstacle to them,” McMaster said. “But enforcement is the problem and enforcement is the challenge.”
McMaster also touched on businesses that remain closed including nightclubs, concert venues, theaters, auditoriums and spectator sports. The governor said he has no plans to lift restrictions imposed on those businesses until the infection rate goes down.
On Friday afternoon, DHEC officials announced the second highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a single day with 1,273 cases.
Friday’s update brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state to 30,263, and those who have died to 694, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
During the governor’s presser, McMaster continued to stress that people must follow CDC guidelines in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
“The first thing I’d like to say to everybody out there, particularly to young people, is this is a dangerous, deadly disease,” he said. ”You’ve got to follow the rules, wear your mask. Keep that distance from people, wash your hands. Be careful. If you’re sick, go home. If you have any doubt about whether you may have the virus, go get a test. For goodness sakes wear your mask and keep that distance.”