Local South Carolina cities may consider mask mandate

Local South Carolina cities may consider mask mandate

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys said his biggest concern right now is the local economy.

“In March, we really struggled with whether to shelter in place or close. We saw a lot of restaurants and businesses having to close down. We can’t go through that again,” Gettys said.

As of Monday afternoon, five major cities in South Carolina are now requiring masks in public -- Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Beaufort and Hilton Head.

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Gettys said he’s all for it if it will prevent a second shut down.

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It’s especially a concern as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the percentage of positive tests are all climbing.

Gettys said it's worrisome to see other southern states facing these issues and reversing plans to reopen.

“That really was the thing that started making me think more about this, when you see other states that have opened, and now you see they’re starting to roll back what they had opened up. That scares me,” Gettys said.

On Friday, Gov. Henry Mcmaster said he would not order a statewide mask mandate, calling it unenforceable.

As more cities pass mask requirements, Fort Mill won’t be one of them -- at least for now.

A town spokesperson sent the following statement to Channel 9:

“The town of Fort Mill has been very cautious about our operations and supportive of all of recommendations given by the state as it relates to the COVID pandemic. Our goal is to protect our employees and community to the best of our ability.

Our steps forward have included slowly and carefully opening our parks and facilities -- all while giving serious consideration for the health issues and the economic issues we all face.

While we all know it is best to cover your mouth when coughing to protect others, it seems logical that wearing a mask in public may help. We highly recommend this protective action, but would have strong concerns on elevating this to an ordinance as we could not effectively enforce this as a requirement.”

The Rock Hill City Council has not discussed this issue formally, but it could come up at the next meeting.

SC Gov. Henry McMaster says mask requirement unenforceable