North Myrtle Beach Passes Mask Warrant Order | Covid-19 coverage
North Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday voted to pass an emergency ordinance requiring residents to wear face masks at all retailers, including grocery stores, home improvement stores, drug stores and service companies personal such as hair and nail salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors.
The ordinance, which is the first of its kind in the county, goes into effect Thursday noon and lasts 60 days. Myrtle Beach votes on their mask ordinance Thursday.
The city joins a growing list of other state municipalities that have passed similar ordinances, including Charleston and Hilton Head, after Governor Henry McMaster refused to enact a statewide mandate.
The CDC and DHEC both encourage the use of masks in addition to social distancing and avoid large public gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19. The zip code encompassing North Myrtle Beach has been home to more than 200 laboratory-confirmed cases, and Horry County has seen more than 3,300. DHEC estimates the actual number of cases is likely higher, including people who don’t. have not been diagnosed.
DHEC says the growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and the percentage of tests that come back positive are evidence of a sicker population, attributing the rise to lax adherence to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.
The ordinance was not immediately released for public review until council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance, but City Manager Mike Mahaney read some of the applicable sections aloud before the vote. The city issued the ordinance after it was passed.
“Wearing a mask, disinfecting hands and social distancing are the only three things we currently have to fight COVID-19,” Mayor Marilyn Hatley said on Monday. “And we believe this is something that we elected officials should be doing for the health and safety of our community.”
The order requires everyone to wear a mask when entering a retail business or any business that provides personal services. The companies themselves are not required to enforce the order, but must post “visible signage” informing customers of the order.
The new rules also require employees who interact with the public in restaurants, retailers, government offices and personal service businesses to wear masks.
People who cannot wear a mask due to their age or health, people who cannot put on and take off a mask without assistance and those who have religious objections are exempt and are not required to wear a mask.
Three people in the audience spoke out against the mask’s warrant and one person spoke in favor
Councilor Hank Thomas said he was in favor of the order and said he noticed many people were already wearing masks. And he cited the recommendation of the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, regarding the use of masks.
“I have a feeling the man knows what he’s talking about,” Thomas said.
Hatley said the ordinance would send a message to visitors that North Myrtle Beach was trying to create a safer atmosphere for them.
“We love our community. We want our community to be healthy, ”Hatley said. “We love our visitors. We want our visitors to feel safe when they come to our community. ”
The ordinance will be enforced by the city’s public security department and code enforcement, and violations will be punished with a fine of up to $ 25 for citizens who violate the ordinance, and up to a fine of $ 100 for companies whose employees do not wear masks.
For businesses that don’t follow the rules, each day of non-compliance is considered a separate offense, according to the ordinance.
“We are putting further closures at risk,” Councilor Bob Cavanaugh said. “It is worth a minor inconvenience to get us out of this situation and maintain our city as we have always planned.”