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Aiken mayor tests positive for coronavirus

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 10:57 AM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Aiken Mayor Rick N. Osbon has tested positive for COVID-19, the city announced today just hours before a City Council decision on whether to require face masks in several public settings to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Osbon learned late Sunday of the positive result after suffering mild symptoms late last week, the city said. He is resting at home and will self-quarantine for 14 days from the onset of his symptoms.

The mayor’s diagnosis came on the eve of an Aiken City Council meeting today where the council will consider the an ordinance to mandate face coverings in food-service and retail establishments.

Due to his illness, the mayor won’t participate in the meeting, and state law bars council members from recording votes remotely.

Osbon released the following statement:

“We must do everything we can to protect each other from this virus while keeping our businesses and the economy in Aiken healthy at the same time. Requiring the wearing of masks by staffers and customers in our local restaurants and retail stores is the best way we have to do both, and I fully support a clear mandate at this time. My own diagnosis with COVID-19, despite all my efforts to stay well by closely following all the guidelines from the CDC, shows just what a tough battle we’re facing to remain open and operating even as the number of cases in our state and City rise dramatically. We have no choice but to act decisively, and passing a mask mandate is what I would vote to do were I able to attend tonight’s meeting.”

The proposed mask mandate will be discussed at the council’s 5 p.m. work session in the Municipal Building at 214 Park Ave. SW. If the proposal successfully reaches a council vote, that action would take place during the regular 7 p.m. meeting. The meetings are open to the public, but attendance in the chambers will be limited to 22 audience members at a time due to social distancing capacity restriction.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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