Council extends emergency ordinances

BLYTHEWOOD – In a short meeting Monday night, town council unanimously approved the continuation of two emergency ordinances that have been in force since March.

One of the ordinances calls for the continuation of a state of emergency within the Town of Blythewood for another 60 days. The ordinance provides for the conduct of meetings of town council by telephone or other electronic means.

The second emergency ordinance council voted on Monday night requires the wearing of face masks to help alleviate the spread of COVID-19.

Councilman Sloan Griffin said 12 counties in the state and 64 towns within those counties continue to have mask ordinances in place.

“About 20 to 25 percent of the counties in South Carolina have ordinances requiring masks as opposed to suggested wearing of masks,” Mayor Bryan Franklin said in reference to an overhead chart showing which and how many counties and towns have emergency mask ordinances in place.

“I would like to see us stay in line with Richland County that has a similar emergency mask ordinance in place. I think it [emergency face mask ordinance] offers a lot of protection and buffers if we stay in line with everyone around us in our respective counties,” Griffin said. “Blythewood’s COVID infection rate is moderate, but most of the counties around us have higher rates.”

Council approved both ordinances unanimously and both will remain in place for 60 days.

Town Hall, which has been closed since March 19 – seven months –will remain closed to the public indefinitely with town employees continuing to work from home.

In other business, council approved second and final reading of an ordinance to amend the zoning of a portion of the Bethel-Hanberry gymnasium to a Class 1 property historic designation and Town Center zoning. The approval was unanimous with a 5-0 vote.

Following the public meeting, council met in executive session to interview candidates for the town attorney position left vacant in September when the town’s attorney Jim Meggs retired. There was no vote following executive session, and Franklin said no announcement would be made concerning the position until a later date.