How the City of Charleston plans to enforce face mask ordinance

VIDEO: How the City of Charleston plans to enforce face mask ordinance

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - On Thursday, the city of Charleston passed an ordinance that will make wearing face masks in places like restaurants and grocery stores a requirement.

Live 5 News spoke with the city’s Director of Livability and Tourism, Dan Riccio, about how his team plans to enforce the rule.

“We’re going to have to learn as we go and adapt as we go,” he said. “Every day will be different, every scenario will be different.” His team has been planning on how things will change when the rule goes into affect on July 1. While someone who does not comply will get a warning and a possible $50 fine, Riccio said it’s more about education than enforcement.

“My officers will have masks available with them in the event that someone needs them we will hand them out,” he said. “We don’t want to be heavy-handed, we want to let people know if you don’t have one we’ll give you one. All we’re asking you to do is the right thing and we need their help in slowing this horrible virus.”

Owner of The Boutique in downtown Charleston, Louis Daughtridge, said she’s seen more customers coming in with masks as COVID-19 numbers have grown in South Carolina.

“I know about 90% of my clientele, most of the people who walk in here I know. They’re intelligent enough to have a mask on. If someone walks in the door and asks if you require one our answer has been, ‘We don’t require them, but if you have one we’d love for you to to put it on.‘”

She’s glad the city has taken this extra step to require it.

“It’s going to relieve us now to say, ‘Yes you need to put a mask on.' It takes the pressure off us because it’s a city ordinance.”

When asked what a business owner should do if someone is not complying in their store, Riccio said, “We’re not going to get into the business of policing inside their [businesses].”

He encourages business owners to offer a mask and use signage to note that it’s required inside. The city has offered these resources to business owners to print and put in their windows.

You can click here to read requirements for other towns and cities in the Lowcountry.

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