Richland County Mask Mandate

City of Columbia: Richland County Mask MandateHighlights of the Richland County mask mandate: The use of a face covering is required within the City of Columbia, including the University of South Carolina and the Williams-Brice Stadium during South Carolina football games. The ordinance is punishable by a fine of not more than $100 by the City of Columbia.

 

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
COUNTY COUNCIL FOR RICHLAND COUNTY
ORDINANCE NO. _____–21HR

 

AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE REQUIRING THE WEARING OF FACE MASKS TO
HELP ALLEVIATE THE SPREAD OF COVID 19, SPECIFICALLY THE RECENT SURGE
IN THE DELTA VARIANT.

Pursuant to the authority granted by the Constitution and the General Assembly of the State of
South Carolina, BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL FOR RICHLAND
COUNTY:

SECTION I.

WHEREAS, it is well recognized that SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes the
disease COVID-19 presents a public health concern that requires extraordinary
protective measures and vigilance; and,

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a
world-wide pandemic; and,

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a
National Emergency for the United States and its territories in an effort to reduce the
spread of the virus; and,

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an international, national,
statewide, and local threat; and

WHEREAS, Richland County is still under a “State of Disaster Declaration”
enacted on March 17, 2020, declaring COVID-19 an imminent threat to the citizens of
the County; and

WHEREAS, South Carolina Code of Laws Annotated Section 4-9-25 provides
that:

All counties of the State, in addition to the powers conferred to their specific
form of government, have authority to enact regulations, resolutions, and
ordinances, not inconsistent with the Constitution and general law of this State,
including the exercise of these powers in relation to health and order in counties
or respecting any subject as appears to them necessary and proper for the
security, general welfare, and convenience of counties or for preserving health,
peace, order, and good government in them. The powers of a county must be
liberally construed in favor of the county and the specific mention of particular
powers may not be construed as limiting in any manner the general powers of
counties.

WHEREAS, South Carolina Code of Laws Annotated Section 4-9-130 provides
that:

To meet public emergencies affecting life, health, safety or the property of the
people, council may adopt emergency ordinances; but such ordinances shall not
levy taxes, grant, renew or extend a franchise or impose or change a service rate.
Every emergency ordinance shall be designated as such and shall contain a
declaration that an emergency exists and describe the emergency. Every
emergency ordinance shall be enacted by the affirmative vote of at least twothirds of the members of council present. An emergency ordinance is effective
immediately upon its enactment without regard to any reading, public hearing,
publication requirements, or public notice requirements. Emergency ordinances
shall expire automatically as of the sixty-first day following the date of
enactment; and

WHEREAS, Richland County Code of Ordinances; Chapter 2, Administration,
Article II, County Council, Division 2, Ordinances, Section 2-31 provides:

(a) An emergency ordinance may be enacted only to meet public
emergencies affecting life, health, safety, or the property of the people. Such an
ordinance may not levy taxes, grant, renew or extend a franchise nor may it
impose or change a service rate;
(b) Each emergency ordinance shall contain a declaration that an
emergency exists, defining the emergency, and shall be entitled an “Emergency
Ordinance”;
(c) Emergency ordinances require no readings or prior publications
before adoption by county council;
(d) Emergency ordinances require a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of
members present for adoption;
(e) An emergency ordinance is effective immediately on the date of
adoption and shall expire automatically on the sixty-first day following the date
of enactment; and.
(f) The clerk of council shall be responsible for indexing and providing
for compilation of the emergency ordinance adopted and shall, with the county
attorney’s assistance, cause a copy of the emergency ordinance to be filed in the
office of the clerk of court;

WHEREAS, as of Tuesday, August 31, 2021, there were 5,152 cumulative cases
reported throughout the State of South Carolina bringing the state’s total cumulative cases to
746,157 since the beginning of the pandemic; and,

WHEREAS, as of Tuesday, August 31, 2021 there were 307 cumulative cases in
Richland County, with 58,850 cumulative cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and 414
cumulative cases in Lexington County, with 45,150 cumulative cases since the beginning of the
pandemic.

WHEREAS, as of Tuesday, August 31, 2021 there here have been 10,742
cumulative deaths statewide, 637 cumulative deaths in Richland County and 558 deaths in
Lexington County; and,

WHEREAS, the number of cases is again growing rapidly and if COVID-19
continues to spread in the County, the number of persons relying on medical,
pharmaceutical, and general cleaning supplies will increase, the private and public
sector work force will be negatively impacted by absenteeism, and the demand for
medical facilities may exceed locally available resources; and,

WHEREAS, it is vitally important that we all work together to decrease the
widespread proliferation of COVID- 19 among us all now rather than suffer the
unfortunate and devastating consequences later; and,

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and
SCDHEC advise the use of cloth face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19; and,

WHEREAS, taking measures to control outbreaks minimizes the risk to the
public, maintains the health and safety of the County’s residents, and limits the spread
of infection in our communities and within the healthcare delivery system; and,

WHEREAS, in order to protect, preserve, and promote the general health,
safety and welfare and the peace and order of the community, the County Council finds
it necessary to take decisive action in order to protect, preserve, and promote the general
health, safety, and welfare of the County by working to slow the spread of the
coronavirus and the DELTA variant; and

WHEREAS, in light of the foregoing, County Council deems it proper and
necessary to adopt this emergency Ordinance;

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in the governing body of
Richland County pursuant to Home Rule, S.C.Code Ann. Sections 4-9-25 and 4-9-130, and
in accordance with the requirements of S.C.Code Ann. Section 4-9-130 and Richland County
Code of Ordinances, Chapter 2, Administration, Article II, County Council, Division 2,
Ordinances, Section 2-31, and in light of the foregoing, the governing body of Richland
County declares that an emergency exists with respect to the presence of and the spread of
the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and pursuant to the above authorities, and incorporating the
measures, guidance and recommendations set forth in the prefatory clauses hereinabove,
adopts this EMERGENCY ORDINANCE, as follows:

ARTICLE 1. General Mask Mandate

1. All persons entering a commercial establishment in the unincorporated Richland
County must wear a face covering, which covers the mouth and nose, while inside the
establishment. A face covering must also be worn in situations where distances
between people change frequently such as a busy sidewalk, waiting area, or popular
outdoor area where it is impractical or impossible to maintain six feet of distance at
all times. This paragraph does not apply to religious establishments. However, the
use of face coverings is recommended during religious activities as well.

2. All restaurants, retail stores, salons, grocery stores, and pharmacies in the County
must require their employees to wear a face covering, which covers the mouth and
nose, at all times while having face to face interaction with the public.

3. Any person who is unable to safely wear a face covering due to age, an
underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the face covering without the
assistance of others is exempt from this Ordinance.

4. Face coverings are not required in the following circumstances:
a. In personal vehicles;
b. When a person is alone in enclosed spaces; during outdoor physical
activity, provided the active person maintains a minimum of six (6) feet from
other people at all times;
c. When a person is alone or only with other household members;
d. While drinking, eating or smoking;
e. When wearing a face covering causes or aggravates a health condition.
f. When wearing a face covering would prevent the receipt of personal
services.
g. When a person is 10 years of age or younger.

5. A person who fails to comply with Paragraph 1 of this Ordinance shall be guilty
of a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of not more than $25.00. A person who
fails to comply with Paragraph 2 of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a civil infraction,
punishable by a fine of not more than $100.00.

6. Each day of a continuing violation of this Ordinance shall be considered a
separate and distinct offense. In addition to the fines established by this paragraph,
repeated violations of this Ordinance by a person who owns, manages, operates or
otherwise controls a business subject to this Ordinance may, subject to all procedural
protections set forth in the County Code, result in the suspension or revocation of any
occupancy permit or business license issued to a business where the repeated
violations occurred. Repeated violations of this Ordinance are additionally hereby
declared to be a public nuisance, which may be abated by the County by restraining
order, preliminary and permanent injunction, or other means provided for by the laws
of this State. The foregoing notwithstanding, every effort shall be made to bring the
business into voluntary compliance with the terms of this Ordinance prior to the
issuance of any citation. For the purposes of Paragraph 2 of this Ordinance, “person”
shall be defined as any individual associated with the business who has the control or
authority and ability to enforce the social distancing requirements of the Ordinance
within the business, such as an owner, manager or supervisor. “Person” may also
include an employee or other designee that is present at the business but does not
have the title of manager, supervisor, etc., but has the authority and ability to ensure
that the requirements of this Ordinance are met while the business is open to the
public.

ARTICLE 2. Mask Requirement as it Pertains to Schools and Daycares

A. This Article pertains to schools subject to Proviso 1.108 of the 2021-2022
Appropriations Act and private schools and daycares, all including faculty, staff, and
children over the age of two (2), and visitors, in all buildings at public and private
schools or daycares, to slow the spread of the novel Coronavirus and the disease
COVID-19 within unincorporated Richland County as follows:

1. Face coverings which cover the nose and mouth shall be required in all indoor
facilities on school or daycare grounds. This paragraph does not apply to religious
establishments, however, the use of face coverings is recommended at all
establishments educating and caring for children.

2. Any person unable to safely wear a face covering due to age, an underlying
health condition, or is unable to remove the face covering without the assistance of
others is exempt from this imposition.

3. Enforcement of this Ordinance will be by Richland County Fire Marshalls, who
will periodically visit affected establishments. No school or school district staff is
required by this Ordinance to help with enforcement. Enforcement is solely the
responsibility of the Fire Marshalls. Every effort shall be made to bring the occupants
of a school or business into voluntary compliance with the terms of this Ordinance
prior to the issuance of any citation, including by means of an initial voluntary
informational program held, without charge, by a Fire Marshall, for establishments
and facilities subject to this Ordinance.

4. No school district or public school within the unincorporated Richland County
shall create, announce, or enforce any policy requiring face masks be worn by
students and/or employees relating to this Ordinance in any way.

5. No public school district or school within the unincorporated Richland County
shall expend any funds from the South Carolina 2021-2022 Budget Appropriations
Act for any action, communication, or other matter relating to this Ordinance.

6. No public school employee shall use any paid work time or work equipment to
report any need for enforcement.

7. No school resource officer employed by the Richland County Sheriff’s
Department, but assigned to and funded in whole or in part by a public school district
or school within the unincorporated Richland County, shall announce or enforce this
Ordinance at any school facilities.

8. Richland County is solely responsible for announcing, requiring, and enforcing
this ordinance.

9. Any person or covered entity that fails to comply with the requirements of this
Article shall be guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $25, plus any
applicable mandatory court costs and fees.

10. Each violation is considered to be a separate and distinct offense. Repeated
violations by a person or private entity are hereby declared to be a public nuisance
that may be abated via order, injunction, or any other legal means. Such means may
include, subject to all applicable procedural protections provided by law, suspension
and/or revocation of Richland County permits and/or licenses.

11. Parents or guardians of children, where the children knowingly and deliberately
refuse to comply with the Ordinance, may be warned and or cited with the civil
infraction fine.

B. Richland County will provide all necessary face coverings (masks) for all citizens
at their request so no school funds are required to be expended to comply with this
Ordinance, as required in the recent S.C. Supreme Court decision in Alan Wilson,
Attorney General, ex rel. State of South Carolina v. City of Columbia.

SECTION II. Severability. If any section, subsection, or clause of this Emergency Ordinance
shall be deemed to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, the validity of the remaining sections,
subsections, and clauses shall not be affected thereby.

SECTION III. Conflicting Ordinances Repealed. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict
with the provisions of this ordinance are hereby repealed.

SECTION IV. Effective Date. This Emergency Ordinance shall be effective beginning at 6:00am
on September 15, 2021. This Ordinance shall automatically expire on the 61st day after
enactment of this Ordinance.

RICHLAND COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA
By: __________________________________
Paul Livingston, Chair
Richland County Council
ATTEST THIS _____ DAY OF
__________________________, 2021

 

 

Michelle Onley
Deputy Clerk to Council
RICHLAND COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
____________________________________
Approved As To LEGAL Form Only
No Opinion Rendered As To Content

 

 

Related: City of Columbia passes mask mandate

Related: Best Lawyers in Columbia

Related: South Carolina Gamecock Football

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Categories
Archives

Follow us

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!