UPDATE: COUNCIL REALIZED AFTER MEETING THAT THE VOTE DID NOT EQUAL TWO-THIRDS NEEDED TO EXTEND ORDINANCE. The current ordinance is still in place through Aug. 5, so they will have to meet again and approve it with a two-thirds majority if they want it extended.
Statement from Assistant Town Manager Chris Pettit:
“There were not the votes this morning for Town Council to extend the mask ordinance another 30 days. An emergency ordinance requires a two-thirds vote to pass and the 3-2 vote to approve does not meet that threshold. The current mask ordinance remains valid through August 5th and Council can reconvene for a subsequent vote on the matter prior to its expiration.”
The Fort Mill Town Council extended the mask ordinance for another month in a close 3-2 vote Monday, with two council members not present.
The vote means residents will be required to wear face coverings throughout the month of August while inside any food, retail and service establishments within Town limits and inside any Town government offices. The town could have extended it 60 days, but Mayor Guynn Savage suggested the town revisit the issue after 30 days before it expires again in the first week of September.
“Folks, I know people who have had it. I know people that have died from it. It is not a hoax. It is not something that is drummed up, and it is not something that is a fluke,” the mayor said of COVID-19. “It’s an inconvenience, at best, to wear a mask.”
Mayor Savage and Council members Lisa Cook and Trudie Bolin Heemsoth voted in favor of the extension. Council members Larry Huntley and Ronnie Helms voted against the extension. (Council members Jamie Shirey and Chris Moody were not present.)
“I just question some of these figures,” Huntley said, suggesting that an individual person could be counted as much as five times if they keep retaking the test.
In the latest data from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, the zip code of 29715 had documented 342 cases.
The Fort Mill ordinance requires all members of the public to wear a face covering while inside establishments such as restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, commercial retail stores, and all service businesses, such as salons and barber shops. A face covering is defined in the ordinance as a uniform piece of material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth, such as a medical or cloth mask, bandana, scarf or gaiter.
The ordinance also requires all retail and service employees to wear coverings inside their establishments when working in areas open to the general public and when making deliveries or delivering pick-up orders, though those businesses will not be required to enforce the ordinance for their customers or any member of the public.
Violators of the new ordinance will be issued a warning on their first offense, but could face a fine of between $25 and $100 on any subsequent offense. Repeated violations by any establishment could also result in suspension or revocation of occupancy permits or business license for their location.