Upstate locals react to new federal COVID-19 travel restrictions

Jessica Wong

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville residents had mixed reactions to a CDC mask mandate that goes into effect just before midnight Tuesday, following an executive order by President Joe Biden. The CDC order said it is a “part of a comprehensive, science-driven, U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic” and […]

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville residents had mixed reactions to a CDC mask mandate that goes into effect just before midnight Tuesday, following an executive order by President Joe Biden.

The CDC order said it is a “part of a comprehensive, science-driven, U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic” and requires travelers to wear a mask over the mouth and nose when traveling into or within the U.S., including on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. The mask requirement also applies to travelers in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and seaports, train, bus, and subway stations and any other areas that provide transportation.

When Greenville resident Julie Pretorius heard about the rule, she said it made her nervous.

“I do feel it infringes a bit on personal decision making and personal rights,” she said. “I do have a lot of issues with the massive push for it.”

The order also has specifications about which masks can be worn and how, such as that the masks must completely cover the nose and mouth, have two or more layers and be secured with ties, loops or elastic bands. Gaiters must be folded to make two layers.

Other Greenville residents said they agreed with the rule.

“For those types of locations, yes,” Hannah Doss said. “Obviously for smaller businesses, it’s up to them, but for what affects the majority, I think it’s totally fine.”

Variants of COVID-19 that originated from the U.K. and South Africa have both been reported in South Carolina, with two cases reported of the South African variant last week. Health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, believe those variants are more contagious than the original strain, but say they do not appear to cause more serious illness and seem to be protected under the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Jeff Daily said the introduction of these variants is one reason why he agrees with federal action. “I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “If I go in anywhere or go up to a crowd of people, I’ll put it on, so in general its a good idea to keep it from spreading.”

The new order will be enforced by the transportation security administration and other federal, state and local authorities and goes into effect on February 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

Operators will be required to remove anyone who does not comply.

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