‘The guests can choose:’ S.C. restaurants embracing end of mask mandate for customers

‘The guests can choose:’ S.C. restaurants embracing end of mask mandate for customers
Hartland's general Manager Rommel Santos says all employees will continue wearing masks despite no state-wide mandate. (Source: WBTV)

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Grabbing a bite to eat in South Carolina looks different now that there’s no longer a state-wide mask mandate.

On Friday, Gov. McMaster issued Executive Order 2021-12, which modifies existing emergency orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masks are no longer required in restaurants or government buildings.

“The guests can choose. They can wear a mask they cannot wear a mask. Whatever decision they choose we will uphold and support their decision,” said Michael Haddock, the general manager at the Fiery Crab in Rock Hill.

Haddock said that while masks are no longer required, there’s a reason he’s not removing the signs outside of his restaurant.

“The public wants to feel safe, the public wants to know we’re still trying to do something to keep them safe, but then we’re giving them the option to wear their mask if they’re not,” Haddock said.

Across town, Hartland’s general manager Rommel Santos said he was surprised to hear the mandate was lifted.

“I guess it’s too early, in my opinion,” Santos said.

Santos said he figured the mandate would still be in effect until COVID-19 cases decreased more.

Douglas Bailey and his family ate dinner at Hartland’s Saturday. He said he wore his mask going into the restaurant but said he didn’t think twice about taking it off once he left.

“When you have people saying you have to do something and you don’t actually like it. Now I don’t have to wear it anymore, I’m glad,” Bailey said.

Both managers say while masks are no longer required - employees will still be wearing theirs.

In addition, they are continuing to practice social distancing, offering hand sanitizer, and disinfecting items and surfaces often.

“We’re trying to show our customers it’s a safe place to come,” Santos said.

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