Charleston, South Carolina – While the Delta still spreads across the state at high pace, the City of Charleston is considering to implement a city-wide mask mandate for everyone, including private and public schools.
The mask mandate has been a hot topic in the last two months since the state officials are not allowing the school districts to implement the so-much-wanted mask mandate for students while the number of infected children, especially in the group under the age of 12, is rising since the start of the school year.
City leaders passed the ordinance Tuesday night with a 10 to 3 vote. The ordinance still needs two more readings before going into effect.
According to the proposal, almost everyone in the city of Charleston above the age of 2 will be mandated to wear mask or face covering in public and private settings. However, there will be some exemptions including for certain medical conditions, eating, drinking, smoking and in situations where it is not feasible – like while exercising.
If the ordinance passes the next two readings, it will be the biggest ever ordinance that will apply to everyone regardless of the vaccination status. The ordinance will mandate everyone to wear mask while indoors, in both private and public buildings. The ordinance will also apply in private and public transportations.
What might end up as an issue is the fact that the city leaders plan to apply the ordinance in schools too, something that state leaders are opposing.
The Charleston County School District has been butting heads with a state budget proviso that technically prohibits them from enforcing a mask requirement. While the district is moving ahead in direct conflict with state law, the city’s ordinance would offer them a level of protection and put mask enforcement squarely in the heads of the city.
Police officers, firefighters, code enforcement officers and the livability team will all be in charge to enforce the mandate if passed.
Fines for mask violations would start at $100 and increase to $200, then $500 for subsequent offenses. A similar ordinance was attempted back in August, but failed.
The upcoming period will show if the city leaders are able to pass and enforce the ordinance.