GOOSE CREEK S.C. - While local leaders across the Lowcountry weigh their options for mask ordinances, some have already decided to issue recommendations rather than requirements.
On Friday, council members on Edisto Beach decided to hold off on issuing an ordinance requiring people to wear masks in the town.
”We were reluctant to issue another mandate,” Mayor Jane Darby said. “We do not want to reach the point, and hopefully we never will, to where we shut down again.”
Darby said the town is instead issuing a strong warning for residents and visitors to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
”To give people an opportunity to actually except some self responsibility because it’s not going away without each of us doing our part, not only to protect ourselves, but to protect others,” Darby said.
The city of Goose Creek narrowly voted against a mask ordinance on Thursday night.
Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib said the council instead has passed a resolution urging businesses to require masks and people to take personal necessary precautions against the virus.
”When I say, we believe in wearing masks and masks are important, we don’t minimize that by not having an ordinance that says it’s the law,” Habib said. “It’s just that, there are more factors to an ordinance.”
Factors like the logistics of enforcing a mask requirement, he added is one of the largest obstacles.
”They don’t have a way to enforce it, we don’t have extra officers to go and patrol stores, Walmart and Publix and the like, that was the biggest obstacle,” Habib said. “We would like very much for people to wear masks when they’re out in public places.”
Habib said he hopes for the issue to be on the minds of county and state leaders, more so than every individual municipality in South Carolina.
“It’s difficult I think on the municipal level to provide that level of care,” Habib said. “One city plan in a state with 271 municipalities, I think, is certainly an obstacle to keep people safe.”
In North Charleston, Mayor Keith Summey released a video online encouraging masks, but said the city does not want “regulate you having to wear a mask. It is common sense to wear a mask.”
Friday afternoon, the city of Hanahan also decided to forego an ordinance, but passed a similar resolution encouraging the use of masks in public.