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[image-1] Charleston City Council will have an emergency meeting today at 5:30 p.m. to discuss a possible face mask mandate in the city.

The proposed ordinance discussed would require citizens to wear a face mask in some retail spaces and restaurants to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19. The language in the ordinance not only requires the general public to wear masks when they enter restaurants and retail businesses, but mandates employers require their employees to wear masks during all face-to-face interaction with the public.

Those who cannot safely wear a mask, are traveling in personal vehicles, are participating in outdoor physical activity or actively eating are exempt from the ordinance.

Those who violate the ordinance can be fined $50 after a warning.

Agenda items relating to COVID-19 were deferred to Thursday evening from Tuesday’s meeting, include an extension of the city’s current emergency ordinances in response to COVID-19 and a continuation of the suspension of city’s plastic bag ban.

The emergency meeting is set just days after Columbia and Greenville announced citywide face mask ordinances. Columbia’s rule requires face masks in public, while Greenville now asks residents to wear a mask in pharmacies and grocery stores. Employees at specific businesses are also required to wear a face mask within Greenville city limits.

COVID-19 cases have increased statewide dramatically in recent weeks, with DHEC reporting a new record-high 1,291 cases on Wednesday — 245 in the Charleston area alone.

Today’s meeting can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel

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