As the Town of Fort Mill debates whether to extend the ordinance requiring the public to wear face coverings, police say they have issued no warnings or fines as threatened in the law.
The mask ordinance, currently effective through Aug. 5, requires face coverings inside any food, retail and service establishments within Town limits and inside any Town government offices. That includes all Fort Mill restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, commercial retail stores, and all service businesses, such as salons and barber shops.
Police Maj. Bryan Zachary said his agency has not received any reported complaints of non-compliance regarding the current face covering ordinance.
“So, it is by no means a lack of enforcement on the part of our officers, when required,” he said by email. “Also, there has been no modification of the original ordinance with regard to warnings or citations.”
According to a Town Press release, violators of the mask ordinance “will be issued a warning on their first offense, but could face a fine of between $25 and $100 on any subsequent offense.”
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.
Maj. Zachary said officers are aware of the mask ordinance.
“If an officer happens to be in a location and observes someone that is not in compliance, then of course they would address the issue with them,” he said.
The Town Council was split 3-2 in a Monday vote on extending the mask ordinance, but it did not meet the two-thirds threshold to pass. The council would have to meet again before Aug. 5 and meet that threshold to keep the ordinance going.
This week, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster encouraged all local governments to pass mask ordinances. He also announced a new order that requires face masks in some public situations while also allowing more businesses to open with restrictions. His Executive Order goes into effect Monday, August 3.
The rules require masks in restaurants and government buildings. It also reopens many public attractions such as movie theaters, arenas, and stadiums. However, masks will be required there too along with mandatory restrictions on occupancy and social distancing. Standing in bars is also eliminated.