City of Beaufort unanimously passes ordinance requiring face masks in public buildings

*(source: WTOC)
Updated: Jun. 29, 2020 at 4:40 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT, S.C. (WTOC) -The City of Beaufort has unanimously passed an ordinance that will require face covers for anyone entering a public building. This ordinance will include all stores and restaurants within city limits.

“We’ve been wearing masks inside ourselves but now with the ordinance, they will be requiring individuals that are coming in to also wear them,” said Tim Waz, owner of Grounded Runner.

City leaders passed the ordinance during an emergency meeting on Monday. The ordinance will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday and will last for at least 30 days.

Mayor Billy Keyserling previously said the ordinance will be enforced by the city’s parking attendants and other codes inspectors.

“I would hope that in 30 days we will get out that education,” said Mayor Keyserling. “We will get out that compliance and we will see the numbers change. "

Despite some pushback, about 10% according to the mayor, everyone in the City of Beaufort is expected to wear a mask anytime they are in a building open to the public.

“We have to impose something that, you know, everybody doesn’t agree with,” he said.

Exceptions can be made for those who have a medical issue or are eating or drinking.

“But it will be enforced as much as a matter of public education and encouragement that it is a punitive measure,” he said.

The rule will be enforced by code enforcement in town. The mayor says the district attorney gave the city the green light.

“Though it’s not had to be tested in the courts, it’s his opinion that the cities do have, or the cities and towns, do you have the rights,” he said.

Local businesses say they’ve already seen participation, this will just make sure people are staying safe

“90% of the people that are coming in are wearing masks right now,” Keyserling said. “So I don’t see it as being a major inconvenience. I think if anything it’s just going to further help the community.”

Read Monday’s full agenda below:

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