[image-1]Charleston City Council voted Tuesday night to approve additional COVID-19 safety measures that will limit capacity for bars and restaurants and allow them to refuse service to customers violating the local ordinance mandating face masks.
Beginning Wednesday, bars and restaurants in the City of Charleston will only be permitted 50 percent capacity and will not be allowed amplified music after 9 p.m. Businesses will also be allowed to refuse service to customers who refuse to wear a mask. The City of Charleston, Charleston County and most other local municipalities have all passed various ordinances mandating people wear masks in most public places.
The measure passed by an 11-1 vote, with Councilman Harry Griffin as the sole vote against the ordinance. Griffin also voted against the original mask ordinance.
Penalties for noncompliance with ordinances will also be increased to $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $500 for the third offense.
While Tuesday's proposal was approved, several members of council indicated a willingness to consider another shutdown if coronavirus figures don't improve.
Hospitals and testing facilities in Charleston County, which has a census-estimated population of around 411,000, have had over 8,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection since the beginning of the pandemic.
Previously implemented COVID-19 ordinances will remain in affect, as well. Health experts continue to encourage masks, washing hands and social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Note: The original version of this story misstated the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Charleston County.