City of Barnwell approves resolution on face coverings; not mandatory

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BARNWELL, S.C. (WJBF) — Barnwell City Council approved a resolution for residents and visitors wearing face-covering in certain instances in the City of Barnwell.”I think it’s needed. I think it’s necessary because we don’t know who or where everyone has been,” Kathy Tharin told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Residents and visitors now are encouraged, but not required, to wear coverings in retail stores, food service establishments, and city-owned public buildings where social distancing of six or more feet could be a problem. Officials are also asking retail and food establishments who have employees who interact with the general public to wear coverings as well. Sanitizing of frequently high-touched areas is also asked of employers.

“If a person is sick, you know, if they got some kind of illness, maybe they should put it on so they wouldn’t cause other problems with other people. But, we ought to be free to have that choice,” Don McCormick added.

Mayor Marcus Rivera said he opposes the resolution. Instead, he wanted something more concrete to help stop COVID-19. “The reason why I’m opposed to the resolution is because that’s pretty much what we are doing. I think the governor has been asking in the form of asking and options. I believe that’s what we’re exercising right now and unfortunately [we’re] not adhering to it,” he said.

“I think that everyone should be required to wear masks, except if you’re in your own home or your car. You’re doing it for yourself as well as the general public,” Ed Felton shared.

There’s a growing list of South Carolina cities requiring face masks including Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. But, Governor Henry McMaster said that he still isn’t considering a statewide mask requirement. “When you try to have a statewide ban on things, it restricts people’s liberty,” he said.

Meanwhile, many are emphasizing making the right choice by wearing face coverings voluntarily to slow a rise in cases that has the state dangerously close to the top in the nation for new infections. “If you’re going to go out in public like Walmart, or these other stores, I think it’s a good thing that we wear them because we have to think of our elderly and our babies.”

The City of Barnwell resolution will continue through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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