People who violate Charleston’s mask mandate will no longer be given warnings, City Council decided Tuesday. Members voted 11-1 to allow livability officers to hand out citations for first violations to reinforce the need to curb COVID-19 rates locally.

Councilman William Dudley Gregorie said the warnings were unnecessary. “I think we need to enforce the mask. It saves lives,” he said. “This virus is killing certain populations more than others. This virus is having an unbelievable effect on black and brown people.”

Mayor John Tecklenburg said the amendment makes enforcement more practical for livability officers.

Councilman Harry Griffin voted against the measure, and said he was nervous about it because of the $100 fine. “A parking ticket in Charleston is only $14,” he said. “I know a lot of people who make $100 a day. So you’re talking about a complete day’s wage out of their pocket.”

Dan Riccio, director of livability and tourism, argued that warnings don’t always get the point across. “People are dying,” he said. “If this is what it takes to get the message across, this is what we have to do.”
[content-1] The city enacted stricter ordinances in July, allowing businesses to refuse service to patrons refusing to wear a face mask. State officials encouraged local municipalities in July to pass mask ordinances.