Rep. Cunningham calls on Gov. McMaster to issue temporary statewide mask mandate as COVID-19 cases rise

South Carolina News

Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham speaks to reporters and supporters during his election night gathering Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. Cunningham is running for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Congressman Joe Cunningham is calling on Governor Henry McMaster to issue a temporary statewide mask mandate through the end of the year.

As COVID-19 cases rise across South Carolina, even breaking records this month, the U.S. Representative is calling on Gov. McMaster to implement a temporary statewide mask mandate to slow the spread of the virus.

“By implementing a temporary statewide mask mandate through the end of the year, Governor McMaster would be taking tangible and effective steps towards protecting our already fragile economy and its people,” he said in his message to Gov. McMaster.

This is the third time Rep. Cunningham has called on McMaster to issue a temporary statewide mask mandate. His first request was made on June 24th, and the second came on July 20th.

You can read his full statement below:

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our nation and South Carolina’s daily case numbers shatter previous records, it appears our governor has simply given up on fighting the spread of this deadly virus. This lack of political courage by the governor has indirectly encouraged apathy towards the virus and unquestionably led to an increase in cases and deaths in our state.

As other states take common sense precautions like mask mandates to minimize the carnage of the latest spike, Governor McMaster has shown no interest in taking any precautions at all. While many of our municipalities have stepped up to fill this leadership void, ultimately the buck stops with the Governor.

By implementing a temporary statewide mask mandate through the end of the year, Governor McMaster would be taking tangible and effective steps towards protecting our already fragile economy and its people. Doing nothing will almost certainly result in more businesses shutting their doors, more South Carolinians losing their jobs, and, yes, more preventable deaths.

As we enter what experts are calling a ‘dark winter,’ I’m asking Governor McMaster to put the lives of South Carolinians ahead of his own political life. Real leadership means doing what is right even when it’s hard. And this moment requires that kind of leadership. We must be vigilant, despite the temptation to acquiesce to pandemic fatigue. A temporary statewide mask mandate through December 31st is the very least we can do to protect the people of our state.”

Last week, Congressman Cunningham was part of the bipartisan coalition in Congress to introduce a $908 billion COVID-relief package that has since been endorsed by House leadership as well as Senator Lindsey Graham.

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