In an effort to curb the growing spread of COVID-19, Columbia City Council will vote on an ordinance Monday that would make face masks mandatory in all public settings.
The ordinance, if passed, will mean that everyone 10 and older must wear a mask in public settings, or even at private gatherings with people from outside their household. However, they could remove their masks to do the following activities:
- Play sports or exercise outside.
- Drive in a vehicle that only contains members of one's household.
- Eat or drink at a restaurant or bar.
- Communicate with a deaf person or someone who is hard of hearing.
- Receive "a service that requires temporary removal of the face mask, such as dental examinations."
- Stay put in a business 6 feet away from other patrons.
People with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks would be exempted. People could also remove their masks at the request of a police officer or a medical professional or when someone, such as a bouncer at a bar, must confirm their identity.
Businesses would be required to provide face masks to their employees under the ordinance.
Punishment for not wearing a mask would be a $15 fine for individuals and $100 for businesses. Businesses would be fined $100 for each employee not wearing a face mask, so if three different employees aren't wearing masks, the business would be fined $300 total.
The ordinance needs a favorable vote from six out of the seven City Council members Monday to go into effect.