Photo by Evan Dvorkin on Unsplash

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Thousands of South Carolina bars and restaurants will be forced to stop selling beer, wine and liquor after 11 p.m. under an executive order announced Friday by Gov. Henry McMaster.

With COVID-19 cases continuing to mount in South Carolina, especially among younger residents, McMaster said the order was intended to stop the spread among those who are potentially COVID-19-positive without symptoms.

Currently, 21-30 year olds make up about 22 percent of South Carolina's confirmed COVID-19 cases — the highest of any single age group — but less than 1 percent of deaths. COVID-19 patients over 71 years old have made up 65 percent of the 898 deaths so far.

"Many of the young people in our state as well as around the country seem not to be taking the virus as seriously as they should," McMaster said during a press conference on Friday. "And we hope that this will help all of us, particularly the younger generations, to realize just how serious this virus is and how much is at stake if we don't see these infection rates start dropping."

The order goes into effect Saturday night.