North Myrtle Beach plans to discuss mask ordinance next week | Covid-19 coverage
North Myrtle Beach will likely begin discussing an emergency mask order as early as next week, according to Mayor Marilyn Hatley.
“We are currently drafting an emergency order for a mask mandate for city council to discuss,” Hatley said. “If we do it, it will be for essential areas like grocery stores, pharmacies, very similar to what Greenville did.”
Hatley and Councilor Hank Thomas said the city plans to discuss the ordinance next week.
“There isn’t a whole lot of prevention against COVID-19 except social distancing and wearing a mask,” Hatley said. “Maybe that’s exactly what we need to do.”
On Thursday, SC DHEC announced 126 new cases of COVID-19 in Horry County, bringing our local cumulative total to 2,495 laboratory-confirmed cases with 42 deaths. The actual number of patients is probably much higher. DHEC estimates that for every confirmed case, there are nine that go undiagnosed.
The North Myrtle Beach zip code alone has seen 147 confirmed cases and, considering the undiagnosed patients, DHEC estimates there are likely more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in the area.
The Ministry of Health and Environmental Control of SC announced Thursday 126 new cases …
The increase in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 and the percentage of tests that come back positive is evidence of wide dissemination in the community.
Of the 7,842 hospital beds in use across the state as of Thursday morning, 881 beds were housing patients who have tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19. As of June 1, there were only 450 patients hospitalized for the disease.
And while 9% of tests came back positive on June 1, nearly 17% came back positive on Wednesday.
DHEC officials blamed the rising number of cases, as well as the downward trend in the age of new COVID-19 patients, on lax compliance with social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.
“I think if the governor does not take action, I would like to see city council enact a face mask ordinance,” Councilor Hank Thomas said. “For me, I’m inclined to go for retail spaces as well as groceries and essential services. Even I don’t always wear a mask in the store. I think a lot of people just need a little nudge to do the right thing.
Since the virus currently has no vaccine or cure, its spread depends entirely on whether or not residents follow guidelines such as wearing a mask in public to protect those around them and practicing distancing. social.
Masks that cover the mouth and nose prevent people wearing masks from spreading COVID-19, but do not necessarily protect them from contracting it, so masks only work if everyone is wearing them.
Masks and social distancing are key to preventing the spread of disease and saving lives, as an estimated 40% of COVID-19 transmission occurs in people in the days before symptoms appear – a period that can last from several days to two weeks – if symptoms appear, according to the CDC.
Faced with officials from other states warning their residents to visit Myrtle Beach …
This means that healthy people who feel well can still spread the disease to other more susceptible populations such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions who are much more likely to die from COVID-19. if they catch it.
State epidemiologist Dr Linda Bell said on Wednesday she supported a statewide mask requirement, fearing that it would take too long to put in place the requirements if it belonged to each individual jurisdiction.
Several North Myrtle Beach councilors have said they wish Gov. Henry McMaster had ordered a mask warrant, but due to his inaction, it was up to them to decide.
The South Carolina attorney general’s office said Wednesday it was legal for cities to implement their own mask orders.
“I think it should be done statewide, but cities have been given permission to implement it,” Councilor JO Baldwin said. “I think it would be a good thing to institute. We are currently studying to see what our options are and how we will apply them if we do.
Hatley said the city is currently considering placing a mandate only for essential businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies, and strongly recommends that restaurants and other retailers require their employees to wear masks.
This week, residents of North Myrtle Beach will see billboards promoting their city on the highway…
“What we’re looking at are the basics, where people need to go,” Hatley said. “It’s up to you to decide if you want to go to a retail store or if you want to go shopping.”
Thomas and Cavanaugh have both said they would like to see an order covering all retailers.
“I wish the governor had done it as part of a statewide event, but he at least left the door open for us,” Cavanaugh said. “I am in favor of doing something in this area. We just have to do it. I would like to see it for all companies. I think we have a sufficient mix of tourists and residents and I think we need to do this to protect our residents and our workforce. “
Cavanaugh went further, saying he was also in favor of an outdoors mask requirement, unless social distancing rules were in place.
Councilor Nikki Fontana is still on the fence, even though she is inclined to vote for the ordinance.
“I probably lean towards yes, but I still think of everything,” Fontana said. “I like to weigh my options on everything when making a decision. I get calls, I have the impression that there is more or less a separation. There are 50 percent who want things to be mandatory, and 50 percent who don’t. They feel their rights are being violated if the government steps in and makes these things mandatory.
Fontana cited an example of a day she went to both Walgreens and Bi-Lo. At Walgreens, she said, there were only a few people in the entire store and she wasn’t wearing her mask. At Bi-Lo, the store was packed and she made sure her mask was on.
“There are times when I haven’t worn mine, and [times] I wore it because I needed it because of the number of people around, ”Fontana said. “You may not always be able to distance yourself socially, so this is a preventative measure.”
Hatley said the ordinance would be like a “no shirt, no service” rule, but accountability for the enforcement is still under development.
“Hopefully companies get to work and be responsible for asking everyone who walks into their store to wear a mask,” Hatley said.