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.
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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