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Governor McMaster lifts last call order, large gathering restrictions

In place since last July, the Governor announced he's lifting the last call order, along with the state's limits on gatherings of more than 250 people.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — This weekend is the last the state's last call order will be enforced. In place since last July, the Governor announced he's lifting the last call order along with the state's limits on gatherings of more than 250 people.

In a statement he said, "With the spread of the virus consistently decreasing across the country and more of the most vulnerable South Carolinians being vaccinated every day, I believe these targeted and limited safety measures are no longer necessary."

RELATED: SC governor lifts pandemic limits on alcohol sales, mass gatherings

Steve Cook, president of the Five Points Association, says it's a step in the right direction. "I have long been supportive of having that removed," Cook said.

"It's a very, very positive thing. I think this helps people operate within the guidelines, actually safer than they were before."

Representative Dick Harpootlian, who represents the Five Points area, is calling the Governor's decision foolish. 

"Declaring we are back to normal doesn't get us back to normal," Harpootlian said. "We could very easily have a resurgence, and I think the Governor, I think this is an asinine move. It is not consistent with the science, and it is not consistent with what your eyes see."

While the Governor may have lifted these restrictions, there will be no St. Patrick's Day festivities this year.

RELATED: No St. Pat's Day in Five Points in 2021 due to COVID-19

For Kellan Monroe, owner of Craft and Draft, the news that the annual Five Points St. Patrick's Day festivities have been cancelled is a shocking blow. "It's a disappointment because it's one of the biggest events," Monroe said.

Carl Blackstone with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce says the event generates millions of dollars. "St Patty's usually sees 30,000 folks," he said.