Lawmaker pushes to mandate masks

Rep. Robert Williams

By Bobby Bryant
Editor
editor@newsandpress.net

State Rep. Robert Williams, a Darlington Democrat, has joined the push for making face masks mandatory in the fight against COVID-19.
On June 26, Williams sent GOP Gov. Henry McMaster a letter asking the governor to issue an executive order “requiring our citizens to wear masks in public places.”
“When the citizens of this state become increasingly ill, our state becomes increasingly sick,” Williams wrote. “We cannot allow this pandemic to control our progress.”
“ … We need to follow through on this preventive safeguard,” Williams said in the letter. “ … Governor, remember this is a public-health matter.”
But McMaster, an ally of non-mask-wearing President Trump, has said he won’t issue a statewide mask mandate because it would be “impossible.”
The governor says, “There is no power on Earth that can follow everyone in the state around to be sure they are following the rules. That is up to the individual.”
Williams told the News & Press he has gotten mostly favorable reaction to his letter. “For the most part, people say it’s good,” he said. “For the most part, people understand the seriousness of this public-health crisis.”
But others, he said, don’t seem to be paying attention. “I don’t know if (some) people realize how serious this virus is. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”
Interviewed a few days before the July 4 weekend, Williams said he was concerned about what might happen during the holiday at Myrtle Beach. “They’re coming to the beach; they’re coming in droves,” he said. “Horry County has become a hot spot.”
Williams said he can’t really understand why the governor won’t consider an executive order mandating masks. “We mandate other things. We mandate seat belts. He could have easily done an executive order (on masks).”

Author: Rachel Howell

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