McMaster’s new executive order restricts previous COVID-19 safety protocols, including masks in schools

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster on Tuesday issued Executive Order 2021-23, which places restrictions on previously implemented COVID-19 safety protocols.

The order “empowers South Carolina parents to decide whether their children should wear masks in public schools throughout the state…, explicitly prohibits any county or local governments in the state from relying on prior orders or using a state of emergency as the basis for a local mask mandate, and bars all state agencies, local governments, and political subdivisions from requiring what has commonly been referred to as ‘vaccine passports’ for any reason.”

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Department of Education have been directed “to develop and distribute a standardized form a parent or legal guardian may sign to opt their child out of mask requirements imposed by any public school official or public school district.”

McMaster said that since all adults are eligible to be vaccinated, “it goes against all logic to continue to force our children — especially our youngest children — to wear masks against their parents’ wishes.”

Likewise, McMaster said that since the vaccine is available to those who want it, he “will not allow local governments to use the state of emergency declaration as a reason for implementing or maintaining mask mandates.”

He continued, saying “we must move past the time of governments dictating when and where South Carolinians are required to wear a mask.”

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