Dozens gather outside State House calling on South Carolina to “open up” in spite of COVID-19 concerns

Some want cities to overturn mask mandates and for more businesses to reopen

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Some South Carolinians are getting frustrated by the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, leading for some to call for change.

The United Patriot Alliance spearheaded a gathering Tuesday morning, which gave people who are against mask mandates and restrictions caused by the pandemic an opportunity to voice their grievances to South Carolina legislators, who were back in session ahead of a two-week session. 

Over the last six months, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed 130,917 cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina. The public health agency also has confirmed that at least 2,943 people have died from the virus.

Still, with some businesses closed and most schools not open five days a week, some South Carolinians are tired of living in the virus’s shadow.

“We need to free the people to be productive citizens again, to go back to work, to go back to school, to engage in commerce, to walk about without fear,” said Pressley Stutts, the Chairman of the United Patriot Alliance.

Dozens of people gathered outside the State House Tuesday holding up signs, and urging state lawmakers to stop fearing the virus.

Some say implementing mask mandates and closing down schools and businesses is an overreaction.

“For this, we have shut down the state. For this, we have driven small businesses out of business. For this, we’ve closed down schools, creating the greatest educational crisis of our lifetime,” said Ashley Martin, a candidate for the Greenville County School District Board of Trustees.

DHEC says there have been more 413 cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina schools, with one teacher passing away from the virus last week.

DHEC also says that cities that enforce mask mandates have seen the number of COVID-19 cases go down by nearly fifty percent.

Still, some are tired of letting their lives be dictated by the virus.

“We don’t want a new norm, we want the norm, and we want to bring actual patriotism back to South Carolina and make everybody in South Carolina recognize it so this doesn’t happen again,” said Chad Caton, a media personality from Horry County. 

The rally spilled into the hallways of the State House, where several waited outside the House and Senate chambers to talk with lawmakers.

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