Jaime Harrison discusses reopening schools, wearing masks amid surging virus numbers

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Jaime Harrison offered his vision on how leaders should open schools, help small businesses, and limit the spread of COVID-19 during a speech Thursday in Columbia.

Harrison, who is running against Lindsay Graham for his U.S. Senate seat, said his opponent has failed the state by focusing on political games throughout this crisis and fighting to cut unemployment relief for South Carolinians.

“We’ve approached the grim milestone of over 1,000 COVID related deaths,” Harrison said. “We’re breaking new case records here on a near-daily basis. And Black communities have been particularly hit hard, revealing the inequities in our healthcare system…The virus might have taken a while to kick into gear in South Carolina. But it’s here to stay — unless we do something about it now.”

Harrison called for a statewide mask mandate for all public areas and said everyone from Vice President Biden to President Trump agree that masks are a vital way to combat this virus.

“That’s why today I’m calling on Governor McMaster to follow in the footsteps of Republican and Democratic governors across the nation and make masks mandatory in public spaces.”

He said wearing a mask is a sign of “how much you care about your neighbors. Wearing a mask is the first step in reopening our economy and our schools.”

The Democratic candidate offered concern for safely reopening schools with virus cases surging statewide. He said every school in South Carolina can only reopen under the guideline’s health professionals recommend.

“Whether local school districts go with a mix of in-person and online, or if some school districts are completely online, that must be our North Star. We must have the funding necessary to keep our students safe. Public schools are in desperate need of the federal resources intended for them in the CARES Act,” he said.

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