South Carolina among 22 states without some sort of face-mask ordinance

Other states who have not passed an ordinance include Florida, Georgia, Tennessee

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) says he will not force South Carolinians to wear masks, but other Governors are choosing to go a different route.

Some are enforcing a statewide mask mandate, while others are even blocking their own cities from implementing similar policies.

In several press conferences starting in June, Gov. McMaster has doubled down on his stance to not enforce a statewide face mask ordinance.

“This is an easier thing to be done at a local level than it is at a statewide level,” Gov. McMaster said during a press conference July 1.

Since June, several cities and towns across the state, including Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville, have passed some form of face-covering ordinance.

Across the country, 28 states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are requiring people to wear masks when at stores or when social distancing is not possible.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D-NC) announced his face mask plan in late June, saying it’s necessary to have in order to start lifting other statewide restrictions.

The state was in its first phase of reopening when cases started to rise. To date, North Carolina has reported 101,046 cases of the virus with 1,642 deaths.

“Our cautious approach here is like the dimmer switch rather than the on-off switch. Over the past weeks and months, even as we’ve turned the dimmer switch up and eased restrictions, we’ve seen community spread of the virus increase,” Gov. Cooper told reporters in a press conference back on June 24.

Meanwhile in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) says he’s leaving the decision to wear face masks to his citizens. The Governor has also called on cities to drop their current face covering ordinances, even suing the City of Atlanta for not backing down.

“I’m confident that Georgians don’t need a mandate to do the right thing. Instead of issuing mandates that are confusing and unenforceable, I’m asking all local leaders to enforce the current executive order,” Gov. Kemp told reporters last week.

Georgia, a state whose population is larger than North Carolina’s by roughly 150,000 people, has reported 145,375 cases of COVID-19 with at least 3,176 deaths from the virus.

Even as cases in South Carolina continue to top 1,000 each day, Gov. McMaster says making everyone in the state wear a mask would be virtually impossible.

“There’s not enough enforcement mechanism, enough police, or others to go and enforce this, so it’s necessary for every citizen to understand to don’t wait for someone to go tell you to quit doing it, just do it, follow the rules yourself,” Gov. McMaster said on July 1.

The following states (28) have some sort of face-covering ordinance on the books: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia Washington, West Virginia

The following states (22) do not have a face-covering ordinance as of Monday: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Of the 22 states that have not issued a face mask ordinance, only two (Wisconsin, Minnesota) have a Governor who is a Democrat. The other 20 have a Republican Governor.

According to DHEC, there have been 71,213 reported cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, with at least 1,147 deaths stemming from the virus.

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