City of West Columbia extends face mask ordinance

The City of West Columbia City Council voted to extend an ordinance to require face coverings for 60 more days, at its meeting Tuesday.

West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles said the data he has seen indicates a lower rate of the spread of COVID-19 when masks are required.

Councilman Mike Green asked how long would the mask requirement be in effect.

Miles said factors including a decrease in COVID cases and the development of a vaccine would play a part in the duration of the mask ordinance.

All Foodservice Establishments and Retail Establishments within the City must require every employee to wear a Face Covering at all times while having face-to-face interaction with the public or other employees or where social distancing of at least six feet cannot be observed at all times.

Face Covering will not be required:

(i)                  by any person who is unable to safely wear a Face Covering due to age or an underlying health condition;

(ii)                by any person who is physically unable to remove the Face Covering without the assistance of others;

(iii)              by all persons 10 years of age or under, unless in a restaurant, where the requirement is 2 years of age or over;

(iv)              all persons whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a Face Covering;

(v)                any person in a private or individual office;

(vi)              where it is not feasible to wear a Face Covering, including

  1. persons receiving oral health services,
  2. persons swimming,
  3. engaging in athletic activities;

(vii)            for patrons of Foodservice Establishments while they are dining; and

(viii)          by police officers, firefighters, and other first responders when not practical or engaged in a public safety matter of an emergency nature.

Upon written request to the City, a Retail Establishment having the ability to isolate customers from employees and maintain social distancing may request a waiver of the Face Covering requirements. Waiver forms will be available from the City and submitted for registration and filing with the City. Copies of waiver forms and registration will be available via the City’s website: Grocery stores, Pharmacies, Hair Salons, Nail Salons, Barber Shops, Personal Hygiene Establishments, Food Service Establishments, and Medical Offices are not eligible for the exemption.  

Violations are a civil infraction and will result in a fine of not more than $25.00 for each violation.

No person shall be required to disclose any information or provide any actual evidence as to their individual qualification for any exemption.

Complaints about violations can be made by calling the West Columbia Hotline at 803-939-8627.

The vote, taken in a virtual meeting, was unanimous. Councilman Trevor Bedell was not connected to the meeting and his vote was not recorded.