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'It has become unnecessary': SC governor explains why he lifted limited mask mandate

On Friday March 5, McMaster relaxed mask rules for restaurants and state government buildings.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Over the last year, masks have become a part of our daily lives. Most stores, restaurants and businesses require them. 

But last week, Governor Henry McMaster updated a previous executive order on COVID-19 regulations saying masks will no longer be mandatory at restaurants or government buildings.

RELATED: SC governor drops mask requirement at restaurants, state government buildings

On Tuesday, the governor discussed how he came to make that decision.

“It has become unnecessary at this point,” McMaster said.

On Friday March 5, McMaster relaxed mask rules for restaurants and state government buildings. He said it’s largely because COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are going down and more folks are getting vaccinated.

“So, if add all that up, we see that it was time to do that,” McMaster said.

But the governor is not recommending people not to wear masks.

RELATED: Where in South Carolina are face masks still required?

“The state is not requiring it. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t do it," McMaster said. "We know how to stay safe from this virus and we are leaving it up to the individuals, the businesses, the offices and there’s very few stores that you can go in now that don’t have a sign out front that says you need to wear a mask.” 

Now, with the state moving on to phase 1B, McMaster said the vaccination process is going well overall.

RELATED: Demand for vaccine eclipses supply as 2.7M in SC are now eligible

“We had some bottle necks at the beginning, but we’ve gotten over that and everybody understands how they fit into the picture and the number of doses have been steadily increasing,” McMaster said.

RELATED: One year later, SC is in a better place with the pandemic, EMD director says

The governor said he hopes by April or May there will be a lot more vaccine doses in the state. He also asked everyone to be patient with the continuation of the vaccine rollout.

Even though the state has dropped the limited mask requirement, there still are some at the local level. Click here, to see where.