Local municipalities consider mandating wearing of masks

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As Coronavirus numbers continue a steady rise across the State of South Carolina, some municipalities across the Lowcountry are considering implementing additional measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 including mandating the wearing of masks in public.

Lowcountry municipalities are weighing options on whether or not to take safety guidelines a step further. On Thursday, three local municipalities discussed mandating masks being worn in public at all times. Some leaders say now is the time to take the step. 

“There needs to be a temporary mandate for wearing a mask in public,” says U.S. Representative Joe Cunningham.

On a call with South Carolina Mayors, Dr. Linda Bell says 40% of the states COVID-19 cases occurred in the last two weeks for leaders to take action.

“These are all very important and complex issues and we felt like it was time to have this discussion for the City of Goose Creek,” says City of Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib.

One of the biggest questions for Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib is the enforcement of a possible mandate by the city’s police department.

“It’s just not as cut and dry of an issue as people think,” says Mayor Habib. “The enforcement aspect of an ordinance like this is really complicated.”

Mayor Habib like Representative Cunningham believes a mandate should come from higher levels of government to prevent any confusion.

“The most effective would be broader reaching so I expect that the state really should be undertaking this,” says Habib.

Scott Slatton from the Municipal Association of South Carolina says the organization is working on guidelines for a mask mandate Cities could adopt.

“Model ordinance that would mandate masks be worn in public that we’ll make available for Cities and towns to use,” says Slatton.

Representative Cunningham says the choice to wear a mask should be easy.

“We have to recognize that wearing a mask isn’t about you, it’s about your friends, your neighbors, the small businesses,” says Representative Cunningham.

At a special County Council Meeting today, Charleston County passed a resolution that strongly recommends for county residents to wear masks in public and county buildings.

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