YORK, S.C. (WBTV) - A mask mandate, and the lack thereof in some areas, is creating confusion for people living in the city of York.
On Monday, York became another city in York County that decided to require masks. The 4 to 3 vote is an ordinance mandate from the city council that started Tuesday.
“You should have the mask on. 24/7. You want to sleep with it at night sleep with it,” says Paul Roberts, who is a mask advocate.
It comes with a $25 fine for those who do not follow the mandate. Police say they are going to focus more on education this week rather than enforcement.
However, the same day the city of York passed a mandate, York County council decided not to mandate masks. Instead, York County decided to encourage people to wear masks.
Most of the council members said in the Monday meeting they did not want to make businesses have a mandate when they could make one themselves. Chairman Michael Johnson says trespassing laws already allow business owners to require masks, so he says the ordinance basically already exists.
Even though masks in York County are encouraged, the council put out a statement saying it will take everyone’s help to stop the spread. Among the encouragement is confusion for some people in the area.
Since York County does not have a mandate, there are pockets in the cities and towns that do where the mandates cannot be enforced.
In the city of York, they are called donuts. Places a few steps away from mask mandate areas can decide not to enforce masks.
”We need to get rid of this and if everybody don’t wear a masks and protect each other we’re not going to get rid of it,” says Robert Butler, who appreciates the mask mandate.
While a mandate in the city of York makes it easier to accomplish Butler’s wishes, the gaps, or donuts, in certain parts of the city leave a mask loophole.
”That’s confusing and it doesn’t make sense because if we have to make it one place we should have to wear it everywhere else too,” says Qadry Cobb, one of the many who expressed confusion.
”One of the challenges with this virus is that it doesn’t know boundaries whether it’s a city county or state and with the ebb and flow of people on a daily basis it is a challenge for our community,” says Seth Duncan, York City Manager.
Duncan has map of gaps in the city he and the council are trying to close. They say enforcement is not the way to go, especially since they cannot do it in county areas. Signs and giving out masks are a few methods they plan to use to educate people instead.
”Educate and inform the seriousness of the situation but also the methods that we can all employ in order to reduce the cases and to stem the tide on this disease,” says Duncan.
He says the York city council wanted to show the seriousness by making masks mandated. While the council is not faulting the county councilmembers for not requiring masks,
Duncan says it does make it more difficult. However, people are calling for a bit more action from their county council.
”I think they should but I don’t think they will,” says Cobb when asked if the county should mandate masks.