Cayce, SC (Paul Kirby) – Tuesday evening, the City of Cayce’s City Council passed emergency ordinance 2020-19 regarding the use of face coverings while within the incorporated city limits of Cayce. There was a press-release sent and with that, a link to the full ordinance the council was supposed to have passed. That ordinance was downloaded and reviewed by the Lexington Ledger’s staff. From that document, we wrote and ran a story about how lenient the city had been when passing their ordinance. There were some hefty fines if the ordinance was not followed, but from that version labeled EMERGENCY ORDIANCE 2020-19 we got, it didn’t have many restriction and except for the “NO Mask, Never” crowd, you could easily follow it and not worry about the fines. The wording of that copy was so lenient that it looked like Cayce was taking the most restrained approach on face coverings of any municipality in Lexington County. That would have been correct if that was the document that was actually passed by the city. It wasn’t!
After receiving an e-mail and a call from the city’s spokesperson on Wednesday morning, The Ledger was asked where they got their information. “Straight from the ordinance downloaded from your release,” was our honest answer. As the Cayce’s spokesperson and The Ledger’s staff began to review the document together, it quickly became obvious there were two completely different documents. The City of Cayce had in fact taken a very tough stance on the use of face coverings within Cayce. Somehow, the document connected to Cayce’s link was incorrect and no one really knows where it came from. Mistakes happen and the staff of The Lexington Ledger agreed to quickly pull the story and Cayce agreed to quickly change the link to the correct document. This article is intended to set the record straight and keep the public from getting into trouble by the folks in Cayce who are supposed to enforce the correct and much tougher ordinance.
The actual EMERGENCY ORDINANCE 2020-19 reads: All persons over the age of the (10) years entering a building or structure in the City open to the general public, including but not limited to, restaurants, retail stores, salons, barber shops, grocery stores, convenience stores, medical and dental offices, and pharmacies, and including fitness centers and studios while such persons are not engaging in exercise, must wear a Face Covering while inside the building or structure, excluding restaurants while seated. Now that’s pretty clear isn’t it? They are saying if you are in any business where you could come face-to-face with someone that sells any product or service to the general public requires that you have your face covered! There are a few exception regarding places but they are common sense exceptions like driving in your car, a private office, or a warehouse or manufacturing facility where you can social distance all the time, you don’t have to cover up. Construction sites and cutting the grass aren’t listed as places you must wear one either. Any other time, if you’re over 9-years-old, you better wear one.
Next, the businesses shall have the responsibility for posting conspicuous signage at all entrances informing its patrons of the requirements of this section. That’s fair; the businesses have to share in the responsibility too. Additionally, all the businesses engaged in food preparation in the City must require their employees to wear a Face Covering at all times while having face to face interaction with the public, or with other staff, when social distancing of at least six (6) feet cannot be observed. They can use those separating barriers between the employee and the public as an alternative but otherwise, they need the face coverings.
Now, not to be misled, they define face coverings well too. This means masks of a uniform piece of cloth, fabric, synthetic or other permeable material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains there without you holding it in place with your hands. A plastic face shield will also suffice. Some example they included were bandanas, medical masks, cloth masks, scarves, gaiters, and face shields worn that cover a person’s nose and mouth. What’s a gaiter you might ask? According to Wikipedia, gaiters are “garments worn over the shoe and lower pants leg and used primarily as personal protective equipment.” When it was looked up, it looked like a leather or cloth tube and we could see someone pulling it over their head like a turtle neck sweater and then pull it up over their mouth and nose when they got out the car. We really don’t think they were referring to the leather ones when they mentioned these and that looks like it would be a very bad idea, so use some common sense.
There are some fines associated with this ordinance that could cost you if you violate it. We have provided a link at the bottom of the article that you can download the correct version and read all that for yourself.
We do know this part of the original article we ran was correct. If you see people who aren’t wearing masks or face coverings in a business, it is NOT your responsibility to correct them! Also, don’t climb up on your soapbox, preach from the street corner, or rant and rave on social media trashing that business because someone in a business doesn’t have their face covered. It’s NOT your job, you are NOT a face covering cop, and they may meet one of the exemptions. If you see them and it makes you feel uncomfortable, move to another spot in the business or leave until they do too! Cayce has a great law enforcement agency with a very capable leader and if there’s a problem, they’ll take care of it.
Remember, a person with a valid medical condition doesn’t have to wear one and they can’t be forced to reveal to even law enforcement what that condition is. Your health is your business and you are guaranteed the right to health information privacy by federal HIPAA laws. All you have to say is, “I meet the medical exemption,” and move on.
There are already stories of business’s management that have told people they can’t enter their establishment no matter whether they meet one of the exemptions or not. They need to understand that this could open them up for a discrimination lawsuit based on freedom of religion, a recognized medical condition, and several other things. That would cost you much more than Cayce’s fines for sure. It would be like telling someone in a wheelchair they can’t shop with you, see what we mean?
The bottom line is twofold. First, the original article was written based on an honest mistake and God knows we all make those. We agreed to make it right and so did Cayce. That’s how all mistakes should be handled.
The second point is that the leaders of the city looked at all the information from the CDC and made their decision from that and other recognized and accepted information. They are only trying to do the right thing. If you don’t like it, please try not to be ugly. God don’t like ugly. Just chose somewhere else to do business.
Link to the CORRECT full ordinance: LINK