Here is the latest South Carolina news from The Associated Press at 11:40 a.m.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina’s capital city is now requiring most everyone to wear a face mask in public to guard against spreading the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The law took effect Friday after being approved by city leaders earlier this week. It requires most people over the age of 10 to cover their face while inside a building that’s open to the public or while interacting with others outdoors. There are some exemptions for health problems, but violators could face fines. The measure takes effect as both hospitalizations and the rate of positive virus tests are on the rise in South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina’s top lawyer thinks the state law protecting historic monuments from being torn down or altered without a legislative vote is constitutional. But Attorney General Alan Wilson said Thursday an additional Heritage Act requirement of a-thirds vote to alter monuments or change building or street names probably would be struck down by judges. The opinion from Wilson’s office is not binding and remains an educated guess on what a judge might do if someone sued over the law. Wilson says he would fight for his opinion in court. Wilson also says he thinks Charleston legally removed a monument to former Vice President John C. Calhoun this week.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – All students in the Charleston County School District can choose an online option next school year even if in-person classes resume. WCSC-TV reports Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait announced the options Wednesday during a school board meeting. She says details still have to be worked out for the online option. A committee has been tasked with putting together a plan by next month.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Authorities say they’ve finally identified a man whose body was found in the Cooper River early last year. The Charleston County Coroner’s Office says the remains were identified as those of 24-year-old Thomas Alex Williams of James Island after exhaustive work by several coroners. The body was found on Jan. 7, 2019. Officials say Williams was very private and friends and relatives didn’t consider him missing. But a friend recognized a sketch that was released of the dead man, and authorities then used DNA to verify the identity. Investigators still haven’t determined how the man died.

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