“Safety is our priority”: Lowcountry restaurant operators react to McMaster’s lift on mask mandate

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BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – Gov. Henry McMaster lifted mandates Friday on face coverings in South Carolina’s government office buildings and restaurants. Now, state administrative officials and restaurant operators can develop their own guidelines related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Because safety of staff and customers is a top priority for restaurant owners, many lowcountry establishments will continue to run business as usual.

“We have employees here that have underlying health issues and we want to take care of them and for sure our customers. That’s what its really all about,” explains operations director at The Cottage Cafe, David Palaces.

Palaces says he and his staff will continue to wear masks despite what their customers decide. He says it’s especially important to keep the people they serve safe as the a majority of them are older in age.

“With our clientele in this area being a little more advanced in age we really care about our population,” Palaces adds.

Sally Zuniga, owner of Tios Latin American kitchen, says she and her staff will also continue to wear masks until the numbers prove otherwise.

“I don’t think it’s premature so to say, but I definitely think the governor’s recommendation to wear a mask is good. I think we’re going to take it day by day and see how the community reacts and how the numbers look with COVID then make a decision from a business standpoint then.”

The governor is still encouraging people to wear a mask in public areas where social distancing is not an option.

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