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Richland County Council votes to institute mask mandate

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Richland County Council has voted to pass an emergency mask ordinance.

The ordinance goes into effect on September 15. It will expire in 61 days.

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Per the ordinance, all persons entering a commercial establishment in Richland County will be required to wear a face covering.

“What it means for Richland County residents is that in public places and private businesses you must wear a mask indoors,” said Livingston.

The ordinance also says businesses must require their employees to wear masks, which includes all restaurants, retail stores, salons, grocery stores, and pharmacies

The mandate does include schools, but county leaders say it does not violate the state budget proviso.

“That referred to state funds, we’re not talking about utilizing state funds” added Livingston.

READ: Here are the temporary SC laws related to COVID-19, schools, masks and vaccines

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Councilman Bill Malinowski attempted to push back the vote to give the public a chance to respond but that motion was denied.

“I think this is a terrible way to get an ordinance in place without specifics being shown publicly,” said Malinowski.

The mandate is similar to the one that was passed by the council in 2020 and comes with a $25 fine for those who violate it. It will be enforced by county fire marshalls.

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