Blythewood town council passes face mask ordinance

The 60-day ordinance goes into effect Monday, July 13, at 6 a.m.

BLYTHEWOOD – In a special called town council meeting Friday evening, July 10, council voted 4 – 0 to pass an emergency ordinance requiring the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Councilman Larry Griffin was not in attendance.

The ordinance requires all persons entering a commercial establishment in the Town to wear a face covering which covers the mouth and nose. It is also recommended, but not mandated, that face masks be worn during religious events.

In addition, the ordinance requires that all restaurants, retail stores, salons, grocery stores and pharmacies in the Town require their employees who have face-to-face interactions with the public to also wear face coverings.

Anyone who is unable to safely wear a face mask because of age, an underlying health condition or is unable to remove the face mask without the assistance of others is exempt from the ordinance.

Other exemptions to wearing a face mask include: in personal vehicles, when a person is alone in an enclosed space, when eating, drinking or smoking, when a person is alone with other household members, when wearing a mask causes or aggravates a health condition, when a person is 10 years of age and younger and during outdoor physical activity as well as in indoor gyms, providing the person maintains a minimum of six feet from other people at all times and, in the case of gyms, that the facility and equipment are properly sanitized.

Persons who fail to wear face masks in commercial establishments would be guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of not more than $25.

Persons in authority over employees at commercial establishments who fail to require employees to wear face masks while having face-to face interaction with the public will be fined not more than $100.

Each day of the continuing violation of this ordinance shall be considered a separate and distinct offense. In addition to the fines, repeated violations of this ordinance by a person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls a business subject to this ordinance may result  in the suspension or revocation of any occupancy permit or business license issued to a business where the repeated violation occurs. Repeat violations will be declared a public nuisance which may be abated by the Town by restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunction or other means provided by the laws of the state.

“Wearing masks is the least you can do. It just makes sense,” Mayor Bryan Franklin said. “The bottom line is, if you are asymptomatic and don’t know you have it, you can still spread it. The mask is for the public’s safety. It’s not a hard thing to do.”

Franklin said the town government will provide masks to those who don’t have access to them.

The ordinance goes into effect on Monday, July 13 at 6 a.m. and will be in effect for 60 days.