Richland Co. Council passes emergency face mask ordinance

New ordinance passed by county council goes into effect on July 6

New mask ordinances passed across Midlands on Thursday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland County Council has passed an emergency ordinance requiring residents to wear face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

LIVE: Richland Co. Council to hold special meeting to discuss face mask ordinance >>> https://bit.ly/2NWtcHr

Posted by WIS TV on Thursday, July 2, 2020

County officials said the ordinance is based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends face coverings for most people ages 2 and up.

The ordinance states that anyone entering a commercial establishment in the county must wear a face mask or covering, which covers the mouth and nose. Employees of restaurants, retail stores, salons, grocery stores, and pharmacies in the county will be required to wear a face mask or covering at all times while having face-to-face interactions with customers.

However, this ordinance does not apply under the following circumstances:

  • Anyone who is unable to safely wear a mask due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  • In personal vehicles
  • When a person is alone in enclosed spaces
  • During physical outdoor activity provided the person maintains six feet of physical distance from others at all times
  • When a person is alone or with household family members
  • When a person is eating, drinking, or smoking
  • When wearing a face covering aggravates a health condition
  • When wearing a face covering would prevent the receipt of personal services
  • If the person is 10 years of age or younger

Anyone who fails to comply with the ordinance will be fined up to $25. An employee who fails to comply with the ordinance at work could be fined up to $100. Daily violations of the ordinances will be considered separate offenses.

Repeated violations of the ordinance by a person who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls a business may result in the suspension or revocation of the occupancy permit or business license issued to the business where repeated violations take place.

The ordinance passed unanimously during a special meeting on Thursday. It will go into effect on July 6 and will expire in 61 days.

Before Thursday’s meeting, the council asked for feedback from Richland County residents regarding the proposed ordinance. County officials said they received nearly 19,000 responses.

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