SC cities OK emergency mask rules again as COVID cases spike

State News

Lawyer Sam Johnson, left, talks to Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin after Benjamin endorsed him to be the next mayor on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. Benjamin chose Johnson, who was barely out of his teens when they met in 2009, over three current or former Columbia City Council members. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Some South Carolina cities are bringing back indoor mask requirements as this summer’s COVID-19 outbreak in the state rivals the height of the pandemic last winter before vaccines were widely available.

Three Midlands cities — Columbia, West Columbia and Cayce — all passed requirements that people wear masks indoors in public places except while eating and a few other exceptions.

The emergency rules follow a ban by state lawmakers on mandatory masks in schools, for the most part.

South Carolina is seeing abut 5,400 new COVID-19 cases a day.

The state was reporting about 150 new cases a day in June when Gov. Henry McMaster ended a 14-month long COVID-19 state of emergency.

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