City of West Columbia City Council Passes Emergency Face Covering Ordinance
During a special council meeting, Wednesday, the City of West Columbia City Council passed an emergency ordinance requiring face coverings in certain establishments in the city. The ordinance goes into effect on Friday, September 10, 2021, at 6 AM, and expires on the 31st day, October 11. A summary of the ordinance is below.
Businesses, where masks are required, must place a “Notice” (poster, placard, or notification, which shall be at least 8”x11”) in a conspicuous place notifying the public of the requirement to wear a face covering.
Face coverings must be worn inside any Foodservice Establishment, Retail Establishment, Hair Salons, Nail Salons, Barber Shops, Personal Hygiene Establishments, Medical Offices, and City Buildings including:
- grocery stores;
- commercial stores engaged in the retail sale of goods or services to the public including
- sporting goods stores;
- furniture and home-furnishings stores;
- clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores;
- jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores;
- department stores;
- hardware and home-improvement stores;
- book, craft, and music stores;
- florists and flower stores;
- bars and taverns;
- all other stores that sell supplies for household consumption or use;
- alcoholic beverage stores; and
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 2 years of age or under;
(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
- persons receiving oral health services,
- persons swimming,
- 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: www.westcolumbiasc.gov. 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.
Mayor Tem Miles said, “We have stayed in touch with Lexington Medical Center throughout the pandemic. It was always us reaching out to them for advise. A week ago, they sent a letter to every Mayor and Leader of the cities and counties and asked for our help to protect our community by passing a mask mandate. The hospitals are not able to provide the standard of care they want and normally can provide due to the overload from unvaccinated patients at the hospital. The vaccination helps prevent those issues. What cannot be prevented are the car wrecks, heart attacks, and open heart surgery patients who can no longer get those surgeries due to the strain that the pandemic is putting on our health care system. This decision is based on a 100% health care crisis on our health care system.”