Richland County no longer enforce mask mandate following Supreme Court ruling

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 5:39 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Richland County will no longer be enforcing its emergency ordinance which required face-covering in most school buildings and daycares.

This announcement comes following a ruling by the S.C. Supreme Court that struck down the City of Columbia’s mask requirement for students and staff in all daycares, elementary, and middle schools.

RELATED STORY | SC Supreme Court says Columbia mask mandate violates the law

The Council implemented the emergency ordinance on Aug. 16, following an attempt by the state legislature to preempt school districts’ authority to require face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Richland County Council Chair Paul Livingston emphasized that the Supreme Court’s decision did not focus on the merits of whether mask mandates are effective or ineffective.

“Simply put, the decision was made that the words of the ordinance, which is substantially similar to the ordinance County Council passed, conflicted with a temporary law passed in the state budget,” Livingston said.

Livingston also stressed the need for public awareness about the virus and steps to mitigate the spread.

“Safeguarding the well-being of schoolchildren and their opportunity to learn is of the utmost importance,” Livingston said. “Richland County will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and consider how we can best assist our local school districts in their duty to educate our children safely.”

The County’s emergency ordinance was set to expire on Oct. 15.

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