Rock Hill masks mandate up for repeal for the fourth time

Rock Hill city council debates future of mask mandate

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - South Carolina’s state health agency announced more than 1000 new cases of COVID-19 statewide today. It is the seventh straight day with numbers above 1000.

Despite this increase, Rock Hill city council will talked tonight about ending its mask mandate. This is the fourth time city council will vote on a repeal.

People should remember, the Rock Hill city council extended the mask mandate indefinitely so members would not have to vote on a new one every 60 days. The only way to remove the mandate is through repeal.

”We take this very seriously here,” says Flipside Manager Eric Rhoad.

A few steps up to the door shows how serious Rhoad takes the mask mandate. He says the restaurant owner called for masks days before the city council required it.

”We want to be able to give that great Southern hospitality and food that they love and enjoy so that’ why we take it serious,” he says.

Step inside and masks are everywhere. Anyone who walks into the dining room see masks on people from the kitchen, to the bar, to those enjoying a meal at a table. Rhoad says only a few outliers have caused some conflict.

”There have been people who have left because we’ve asked them to wear a masks from the front to the table but on the all and all everyone has been very supportive,” says Rhoad.

That support could be hanging in the balance if the mask mandate repeal goes through during the city council meeting. If it is repealed, Rhoad says Flipside’s owner will decide what he will do himself.

”If that’s what it takes to reduce that spread then we’re gonna take that in order to keep this business open,” he says.

Rhoad might not need to worry though. Mayor John Gettys says the city council masks support is high.

”It came about because the governor of South Carolina declared a public health emergency. Until the governor takes away that emergency I think we need to be prudent and think about others in our community,” says Mayor Gettys.

Mayor John Gettys talked about the numbers and if this was a good time to talk about repealing. ”It’s very narrow in scope and it’s there for now,” he says. “I really don’t see an erosion of support for doing the right thing.”

”We would love to not have masks but to get to that point it’s going to be the safest route,” says Rhoad.

Gettys could not tell me how the council vote would go tonight. He did say the five members who voted to make the mandate indefinite still feel one should be in place.

If the mandate gets repealed in Rock Hill, there are certain businesses in the city that would still have to require masks under Governor Henry McMaster’s order.

It is expected this won’t be the last time a repeal vote will be on the agenda.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.