Cunningham calling on McMaster to issue statewide mask mandate through end of the year

Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 9:11 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Congressman Joe Cunningham is calling on Gov. Henry McMaster to issue a statewide mask mandate through the end of the year citing the recent cases of COVID-19 which broke records this past weekend.

Last Friday, officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 2,470 new cases which had been the highest single-day total reported in the state since the pandemic began in mid-March. Those numbers compelled health officials to speak on the serious nature of the number of cases.

That record was then broken on Saturday with health officials reporting 2,715 news cases.

Cunningham said on Monday that the very least South Carolina can do was for leaders to issue a temporary mask mandate until the end of the year.

“We must be vigilant, despite the temptation to acquiesce to pandemic fatigue,” Cunnigham said. “A temporary statewide mask mandate through December 31st is the very least we can do to protect the people of our state.”

According to the congressman’s office, this is the third time Cunningham has called on McMaster to issue a temporary mask mandate. He had previously called on the governor to do so in June and in July.

“As we enter what experts are calling a ‘dark winter,’ I’m asking Governor McMaster to put the lives of South Carolinians ahead of his own political life,” Cunningham said. “Real leadership means doing what is right even when it’s hard. And this moment requires that kind of leadership.”

You can read Cunningham’s full statement below:

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our nation and South Carolina’s daily case numbers shatter previous records, it appears our governor has simply given up on fighting the spread of this deadly virus. This lack of political courage by the governor has indirectly encouraged apathy towards the virus and unquestionably led to an increase in cases and deaths in our state.

As other states take common sense precautions like mask mandates to minimize the carnage of the latest spike, Governor McMaster has shown no interest in taking any precautions at all. While many of our municipalities have stepped up to fill this leadership void, ultimately the buck stops with the Governor.

By implementing a temporary statewide mask mandate through the end of the year, Governor McMaster would be taking tangible and effective steps towards protecting our already fragile economy and its people. Doing nothing will almost certainly result in more businesses shutting their doors, more South Carolinians losing their jobs, and, yes, more preventable deaths.

As we enter what experts are calling a ‘dark winter,’ I’m asking Governor McMaster to put the lives of South Carolinians ahead of his own political life. Real leadership means doing what is right even when it’s hard. And this moment requires that kind of leadership. We must be vigilant, despite the temptation to acquiesce to pandemic fatigue. A temporary statewide mask mandate through December 31st is the very least we can do to protect the people of our state.”

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