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GUEST EDITORIAL: A letter to the citizens of Irmo from Mayor Barry Walker

Dear IRMO Citizens:

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is not over. Statewide the infection rate is decreasing, and the mask ordinances are working. That being said, I urge you to continue to wear masks when you go out in public and in large groups of people you don’t know. This will keep you safe and help stop the spread. Speaking of masks: The Irmo Town Council voted to extend the mask ordinance for an additional 30 days during our meeting on September 1st. While I agree with the extension of the mask ordinance, I take issue with the restrictions that have been forced on our local restaurant community. These restrictions have caused small business owners to incur additional expenses and dramatically alter the way they do business and earn a living.

First, our restaurants were shut down. And then, when they were allowed to reopen, they could only reopen to 50% of their dine-in capacity. Why are we mandating that our citizens wear a mask for protection, but we aren’t allowing our restaurant community to operate at full capacity?

Here is my opinion as Mayor of IRMO: I believe we should encourage citizens to protect themselves and others from the virus. I believe we should encourage the restaurant community to protect their employees and customers they serve by using PPE’s. I believe we SHOULD NOT restrict our restaurants on the capacity of customers they serve. There is absolutely no difference between sitting next to someone in an airplane vs. sitting at a table a few feet away in a restaurant. Airlines are not restricted on packing the planes this holiday season. We must allow our restaurant community to open to full capacity. Give them a chance to make a living during this pandemic.

One last thing: The 2020 Okra Strut was slated to be held at the end of September but was cancelled out of an abundance of caution. The IRMO Events Committee has decided to present the Irmo Drive-In Movie Night & Taste of Irmo on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at Steve Padgett’s Honda of Lake Murray. This will be a free event, but tickets are required due to the limited capacity of the parking. Free tickets will be available electronically at the Greater IRMO Chamber of Commerce web site. This month, our featured film will be THE SANDLOT!! “You’re killing me, Smalls!!”

This Saturday 9/5/20 at 9am, I will be at my local coffee shop, Dunkin Doughnuts, on Lake Murray Blvd. Stop by and come meet me in person if you have a question or conversation you want to talk about.

In service to you I remain,

Mayor Barry Walker

NOTE: The contents of the column are the opinion of its author and may or may not reflect the opinion of the owners and staff of The Lexington Ledger. If you would like to make your opinion known, please see the guidleines for submitting these on the OPINION page of The Lexington Ledger at www.thelexingtonledger.com.

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