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Mt. Pleasant mayor to extend mask ordinance

Photo: Getty Images

By Patrick Phillips | November 13, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST - Updated November 13 at 12:06 PM

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Mount Pleasant’s mayor said Friday he plans to extend the town’s existing mask ordinance for another 60 days.

Will Haynie said a draft of the extension has been drafted and he would issue that extension on Friday or Saturday.

“After talking with our legal counsel and talking with members of our council, we would get the same five to four vote if we were to do it by vote of council,” Haynie said Friday. “And council members and the lawyers have told me it would be perfectly fine for me to extend it for 60 days using a mayoral proclamation, which doesn’t require two readings, which doesn’t require a council meeting to resend it or alter it.”

The town’s existing mask ordinance was set to expire on Monday.

Haynie said extending the ordinance would get the town through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

“I’m all for getting together for Thanksgiving in a COVID-minded way,” he said. “We have to keep in mind the most vulnerable.”

Haynie described not taking precautions against COVID-19 as playing “Russian Roulette.”

“You know, I have some friends who have had this and had no symptoms,” Haynie said. “I have one friend who had this and died and died early on, and I have one friend who spent 10 days in ICU on a ventilator. So that’s why I mentioned it’s like Russian Roulette. Some people will get it and hardly ever note know it and wonder why they tested positive, and others think they might be at the end of their life. So, why take that chance? We value life. Life is sacred. So, gather as families but take every precaution so that it is a joyous occasion and there’s no regrets later.”

Haynie said he understands people have “COVID fatigue,” because of the daily reports about new cases and deaths.

“We need to remind everybody that after the Memorial Day weekend going way back to the beginning of the summer, we had a big spike in July, and without any further restrictions from the state or local government, our restaurants and hotels saw their business really drop,” he said. “And it just behooves us all to mind this advice about wearing masks, social distance, wash hands, don’t congregate in large groups, because we’re trying to keep our people and our economy healthy.”

The current ordinance was passed on Sept. 15.

The ordinance states that all people entering a grocery store, pharmacy, or town owned or operated building must wear a face mask while inside the establishment. For the purpose of the ordinance, the term grocery store means a retail establishment that primarily sells food, but may also sell other convenience and household goods.

People failing to comply with this portion of the ordinance could face a fine of $25.

In addition, all restaurants, retail stores, salons, barber shops, grocery stores, pharmacies and town buildings must require employees to wear a face covering at all times while having face to face interaction with the public or other employees.

A person failing to comply with this portion of the ordinance could face a fine of $100.

Exemptions include anyone unable to safely wear a face covering due to age or a health condition, children under 12 years old, and emergency responders where wearing a mask is not practical when engaged in a public safety matter of an emergency nature.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Photo: Live 5 News

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