Beaufort could start giving fines instead of warnings with mask ordinance

Beaufort could start giving fines instead of warnings with mask ordinance

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WTOC) - The City of Beaufort is two weeks into their mandatory mask ordinance and they say even though they have only given out verbal warnings, soon they will start giving out fines with citations.

“Have issued 51 verbal warnings. We have not yet written a citation,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.

The city says citations could be written as soon as the end of the week.

“At the police department, we are operating in education mode. So, if we get a call about a particular business we will go to that business and make sure they understand what the ordinance is,” Beaufort Police Capt. George Erdel said.

The mayor says some citizens believe the fine is a way to make money. The city says that is not the case.

“Their time, away from their other jobs, given their salaries, is a lot more expensive.”

They say it cost more than the $50 fine to have code enforcement writing tickets.

“We would obviously prefer if people would wear the masks, that between code enforcement and the police department, we could use our resources to do other things.”

The mayor says code enforcement will likely only give a fine if someone or an establishment is repeatedly disobeying the ordinance.

“Go back to those places and they warned and found that the behavior hasn’t changed? They will likely use their best judgment but say, would write a citation.”

The mayor also notes most of the warnings were given to individuals, because businesses in Beaufort seem to be, for the most part, complying.

“In many ways, the merchants are relieved. Because it puts the burden of responsibility on the city not on them.”

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