By Brian Sherman for Island Eye News
The Isle of Palms City Council reversed an earlier decision Friday afternoon and passed an ordinance requiring staff and customers at all retail and food service businesses to wear face masks in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.
On June 23, the Council voted 6-3 to eliminate the section of Emergency Ordinance 2020-09 that would have mandated that “every person working, living, visiting or doing business in Isle of Palms is required to wear a face covering consistent with the current CDC guidelines while in any pubic place where social distancing cannot be maintained.” Voting to take that section out of the ordinance were Council Members Phillip Pounds, Jimmy Ward, Ryan Buckhannon, Kevin Popson, Rusty Streetman and Mayor Jimmy Carroll. Council Members Randy Bell, Susan Hill Smith and John Moye favored requiring face masks.
At the June 23 meeting, Popson and Streetman cited government overreach as a reason not to mandate face masks.
“I don’t see that it’s the government’s job to step in and manage those situations,” Streetman commented.
By June 26, however, he had changed his mind based on comments he received from local residents, who overwhelmingly favored mandated face masks. Carroll and Pounds also changed sides, while Popson and Ward continued to vote against forcing residents and visitors to cover their faces in public. Buckhannon was not at the June 26 meeting.
Streetman admitted that the law, which will go into effect July 1, will be difficult to enforce, that it would be “more peer pressure than anything.”
“We’re making a law that we’re going to have peer pressure enforced?” Popson asked.