ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) – Residents of Orangeburg will have to wear face coverings in many parts of the city over the next two months.
Orangeburg city council voted on reinstatement on Tuesday a 60-day city-wide mask warrant.
The emergency order approved by council members requires face coverings to be worn by customers and staff in restaurants and retail establishments, including stores, drugstores and laundromats. It also requires people to mask themselves during indoor and outdoor gatherings, which include, but are not limited to, concerts, parades, festivals and even indoor parties at private residences.
Normal operations in schools and religious services are excluded from the requirement, as are people with medical or behavioral conditions that prevent them from wearing masks, children under the age of 2 and people in private offices and individual.
Sammie Gordon Sr., owner of Gordon’s Shoes and Tax Service in Orangeburg, said he needed face masks at his business before the order was reinstated.
Gordon keeps a box of disposable masks in the store if people aren’t wearing them because he said he wouldn’t serve them otherwise.
“We’re trying to stop this thing, and we’ve got the best scientists, the best people in the world working on this thing, and if we follow the directions, we can handle it,” Gordon said.
People who violate the order by not wearing their masks can be fined $ 25, while business owners can face a fine of $ 100 if their employees are not masked.
The order also states that companies that repeatedly violate the mask’s mandate could have their permits or licenses suspended or revoked.
Owners and hosts of parties or gatherings who violate the ordinance can also face fines, as can those in attendance who are not masked or socially distanced.
Lavern Witherspoon, a client of Gordon, said he wore a mask whenever he left his home during the duration of the pandemic, but said it made him more comfortable knowing than others will also wear theirs.
“When you wear a mask, you think of more than yourself because we don’t know who is wearing it, where it is from and where it is hiding,” Witherspoon said. “But if we’re wearing a mask, and I’ve been wearing two since March of last year, and some places I go, I’ll put on a third.”
Governor Henry McMaster signed a decree in May which prohibited local governments from using emergency declarations to install mask warrants.
Orangeburg’s latest emergency mask ordinance said city council not only has the power but also a duty to protect its citizens, as set out in the South Carolina Constitution.
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