Local Government

Resolution vs. Ordinance: Wearing Masks in Clarendon County

Posted

Clarendon County Council passed a resolution last week suggesting that its citizens wear face masks while they are in public. Manning City Council passed an Ordinance demanding that citizens wear a mask while they are in public. This opened up a lot of conversation in the general public about where, and where not, a mask is required; as well as what, and what is not, mandated. To answer this question, the definition of a local governments resolution and/or ordinance needs to be explored. 

To start, Clarendon County currently has a face mask resolution in place, as voted on by council in last weeks meeting. What does this mean? A resolution, by definition, is the “official expression of the opinion or will of a legislative body.” This means that this is nothing more than a strong suggestion to the citizens of Clarendon. While this does not hold any legal consequences for someone caught in violation, others might argue that it holds moral consequences. While you may not be fined by the county for refusing to wear a face mask, some may say the possibility of spreading a deadly disease is worse. 

The Clarendon County resolution is mostly consistent of “should’s” and “recommended’s.”

“Now, therefore, be it resolved, that it is strongly recommended and encouraged by the County Council of the Clarendon County, South Carolina, South Carolina as follows:

  1. Face Coverings be worn by all customers while inside the enclosed area of any Retail Establishment; and
  2. Retail Establishments should require staff to wear Face Coverings while working in areas open to the general public and areas in which interactions with other staff are likely in which social distancing of at least six feet cannot be observed; and
  3. Foodservice Establishments should require staff who interact with customers (including, without limitation, delivery personnel) to wear Face Coverings while working.”

The ordinance continues on to describe what is considered a proper face covering. There is also a large amount of exposition and legal jargon in the first half of the ordinance that isn’t included here. What this means, in layman’s terms, is that Clarendon County Council is asking its citizens to wear masks. The County believes that the citizens can turn this around without the threat of legal or judicial interference. 

The City of Manning is a different story, however. City Council debated over two lengthy Zoom meetings a few weeks ago on how they would approach the face mask issue. At the end of the second meeting, council decided unanimously that they would pass an ordinance requiring all customers and staff at retail and foodservice establishments to wear face masks. 

The wording in their ordinance is completely different: 

“Section 2. Use of Face Coverings. Effective as of 8AM on Thursday, July 9, 2020

  1. all customers or visitors are required to wear Face Coverings while inside the enclosed area of any Retail Establishment or Foodservice Establishment, or city-owned property.
  2. all Retail Establishments shall require staff to wear, and those staff shall wear, Face Coverings while working in areas open to the general public and areas in which interactions with other staff are likely in which social distancing of at least six feet cannot be observed; and
  3. all Foodservice Establishments shall require staff who interact with customers (including, without limitation, delivery personnel) to wear, and those staff shall wear, Face Coverings while working.”

A lot of the County’s “should’s” are replaced with “will’s” here. The Manning City council had a different take on finding the solution. During their meetings, the idea of a resolution was discussed. However, in the end, they wanted to buckle down and improve Manning’s COVID numbers. This meant requiring face coverings, not just suggesting them.  

On top of requiring them City Council decided, after much debate, to attach a fine of $25 to each infraction of this new ordinance. This ordinance also covers all retail establishments within the city as well, requiring all staff members to wear one as well. Many citizens are challenged by this separation of County and City, however. Many businesses and patrons believe that they can follow the county guidelines, but not the city ordinance. This worries City of Manning Mayor, Julia Nelson. 

“It is important that business owners and individuals doing business in Manning adhere to our mask ordinance,” said Nelson. “Clarendon County’s resolution is not applicable within the city limits of Manning.”

This separation of City and County is often looked over, because the two rarely pass legislature differently. For the most part, what works in the county, works in the city. That is not the case now, however. While in the city limits of Manning, all staff members and customers at retail and foodservice establishments are required to wear face covering by law. That being said, outside of the city limits, in Summerton and Turbeville and in-between, it is at every citizens discretion. 

You can find the full ordinance and resolution on Manninglive.com.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment