Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said Tuesday in favor of allowing the city’s ordinance, which requires residents to wear masks in public places, to expire later this month.
The city’s current Maskman Date related to the coronavirus pandemic runs until May 16. The city council met on Tuesday and took no action on the extension of the measure. The city council will meet again on May 11. The city enforced the Mask Ordinance in July and extended it several times, most recently in March.
The fine for violations of the Columbia Mask Act began at $ 25, but in November the law was strengthened and the fine was raised to $ 100. The Marshal of the Columbia Fire Department has issued more than 500 mask tickets since July.
“I think we have to have a very serious dialogue between now and the expiration of the ordinance,” Benjamin said. “I hope to move from a mandatory mask policy to a deeper and more aggressive vaccination strategy …. I’m leaning towards the expiration of the (Mask) Ordinance. Wise I think.”
Benjamin said he would be happy to accept the city’s initiative to provide vehicles to residents to obtain the vaccine and seek partnerships with healthcare providers to door-to-door canvassing to reach Colombians. He said he was ready.
“We need to step up and hold people personally responsible for moving forward,” said the third mayor. “We went too far, lost a lot of souls and couldn’t go back. We encourage you to shift our strategy … very much to ensure that the vaccine reaches everyone. Move to an aggressive deep dive. “
In Richland County, the Mask Ordinance is in force for unincorporated areas of the county until early June.
According to the city’s current ordinance, “a face mask that covers the nose and mouth is required in all public places in the city. Everyone who enters a commercial facility in the city has a face while in the facility. Covers must be worn. Situations where the distance between people changes frequently, such as busy walkways, waiting rooms, or popular outdoor areas where it is impractical or impossible to maintain a distance of 6 feet at all times. But you have to wear a face cover. “
In South Carolina, the number of COVID-19 is declining, especially due to increased availability of vaccines.On Tuesday, the State Department of Health and Environment reported Less than 300 confirmed new cases And zero new death. COVID hospitalizations in South Carolina have dropped from 2,400 in January to 386.
Councilor Tameika Isaac Devine has shown some hesitation in revoking the mask law this month.
“I know you can’t oblige a lot, but that’s a concern,” she said. “I’m worried until more people get vaccinated.”