City of Charleston mask ordinance in public facilities fails following Tue. night vote

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 3:50 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 11:48 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston city council’s mask ordinance for all public facilities including schools has failed after attempts to amend the ordinance Tuesday night.

The emergency ordinance would have required face coverings indoors in public schools, private schools, and child daycares. The discussion came after a day after the Charleston County School District voted to mandate masks for all students and staff for 60 days.

Councilmember Ross Appel had attempted to amend the ordinance to eliminate private schools from the ordinance and to only include public schools within the Charleston County School District and not the Berkeley County School District.

“If this ordinance provides aid and support for the Charleston County School Districts, I think it’s worth passing tonight,” Appel said during the meeting. “But let’s let the private schools do what they want to do. Let’s let Berkeley County School District, do what they want to do.”

However, councilmembers voted against it.

“Tonight I will be staying consistent and be voting to allow the will of people and allow them to make the decision for what is right for them and their families,” Councilmember Harry Griffin said.

Before the city council meeting got underway dozens of anti-mask protesters showed up voicing their opposition to mask requirements.

About 80 people were signed up to speak during the meeting, and many of them came to speak against the face mandate.

City leaders said the conversation started after they received medical advice about the rise of COVID-19 cases and the unknowns about the delta variant.

“As a city, I know that we’ve always taken the role of government protecting the health and welfare and public safety of our citizens. That is our main mission as a local municipality,” Charleston city councilmember Carol Jackson said earlier in the day.

The ordinance would have applied to anyone over the age of 2, with exceptions. The mandate would not have included restaurants, grocery stores, and other private businesses.

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