Members of CRFD would join Columbia city leaders and officials with the University of South Carolina to tout support for recent amendments to the city’s protective mask ordinance on Thursday, November 5, 2020.
The changes to the ordinance took effect on November 5 following an emergency meeting of the Columbia City Council. Amendments to the ordinance include higher fines and stipulations for not wearing masks on a busy sidewalk waiting area, or popular outdoor area where it is impractical or impossible to maintain six feet of distance at all times.
Citizens who do not comply with the mask ordinance could now be punished with a fine of up to $100 per violation.
“It is important to note that not only has the penalty increased but that the circumstances where masks are required has also expanded,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.
City Councilman Will Brennan joined CRFD Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins for a press conference in Five Points to elaborate on these changes to the mask ordinance. In light of large gatherings that have continued to take place in and around the city, the fire department is now hoping the larger fines will encourage people to think twice about not wearing a protective mask.
The city also recently received a large donation of protective masks from the University of South Carolina. These free masks will be distributed in Five Points and other areas over the coming days to encourage mask compliance with area citizens.
Even Sparky the Fire Dog is now wearing a protective mask. He joined area leaders in Five Points for the November 5 press conference and then visited several nearby business with CRFD staff to hand out masks.
The previous ordinance as previously written would have expired on November 15, 2020. The extension approved by City Council on November 5 now extends the ordinance to expire on the 61st day after enactment of this ordinance.
In addition to protective masks the emergency ordinance also extends the temporary suspension of the normal operating procedures of City Council and City Boards and Commissions meetings.
Extending the temporary suspension of meetings allows the Mayor, Council Members, Board Members and Commission Members to remotely participate in voting and operational procedures by telephone or other means of electronic communication and extends the requirement that face coverings or masks be work in public in the City of Columbia.