Q&A: What you need to know about the city of Aiken mask ordinance

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 9:40 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The mask ordinance for the city of Aiken goes into effect tomorrow, July 17. Here’s what’s expected to come from it and the answers to questions you may have.

The Aiken City Council has approved an ordinance requiring individuals to wear face coverings in certain situations and locations in order to protect the general health and safety of the community and visitors.

The city of Aiken has provided a list of common and questions regarding the ordinance:

1. When does the ordinance take effect?

The effective date and time of this ordinance: 12:00 PM, Friday, July 17, 2020

2. Why are face coverings required?

According to the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”), everyone is at risk for getting COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill, which means that they may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they may even die. COVID19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks. Face coverings are a proven way to reduce this spread.

3. What is a face covering?

A uniform piece of cloth, fabric, or other material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands. Face Coverings include, but are not limited to, bandanas, medical masks, cloth masks, scarves, and gaiters, provided that they are worn such that they securely cover the person’s nose and mouth. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.

4. Where do I have to wear a face covering?

This emergency ordinance applies to any organization, establishment, retail business or facility open to the public within the City of Aiken.

5. How will this ordinance be enforced?

Education will be the first step in enforcement. The City of Aiken will work to educate any violators of the ordinance before pursuing further action.

6. Is there a penalty for violating the Ordinance?

If a facility or establishment requests a violator of the ordinance to vacate their premises and the individual fails to comply, the Aiken Department of Public Safety may be reached at 803.642.7620 and an officer will be dispatched. If all efforts to reach a resolution are exhausted, ADPS would have the option to issue a summons for trespassing. (SC Code 16-11-640).

7. How can violations be reported?

If observing an individual in a facility or establishment without a mask, ask for assistance from the facility or establishment’s representative. If they are unwilling to address the problem, call the Aiken Department of Public Safety at 803.642.7620.

8. Do I have to wear a face covering in my home or personal vehicle?

No, the ordinance does not apply to wear face coverings at home or personal vehicles.

9. Do children have to wear face coverings?

Children under 5 years of age are not required to wear face coverings under the City of Aiken Emergency Ordinance.

10. Do I have to wear a face covering while at a restaurant or other foodservice facility or establishment?

Face coverings are required anytime you are not eating at a restaurant (ex. waiting to be seated, walking in and out, walking to the restroom, etc.)

11. What is social distancing?

Maintaining physical separation of at least 6 feet between people from different households.

12. Are face coverings required while on sidewalks?

No, but they are encouraged if social distancing cannot be achieved.

13. Are face coverings required at barbershops, hair salons, nail salons?

No, not while being served.

14. Can a facility or establishment ask someone who is not wearing a face covering to leave?

Yes, any facility or establishment representative has the right to deny entry in accordance with the face coverings ordinance. If an individual refuses to comply they are in violation of the trespassing law SC Code 16-11-640.

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