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Lexington councilmember asking for input on renewed mask mandate

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) 12/08/2020 – Lexington Town Councilman Ron Williams is asking the public what they think regarding the first reading of an ordinance that would once again mandate that all who are able must wear a face covering while in the Town of Lexington. The mandatory mask ordinance passed its first reading in name only Monday night. There are a number of caveats and exceptions to the ordinance if it passes in the same form or much as it had in the spring.

First readings are generally held as a formality to expose the thoughts or plans of a governing body. They can often be looked at as a rough draft that allows a period for each elected official to think about and study the details of an ordinance and to receive input from their constituents. Ordinance can be modified in between readings and only become a law after the final reading.

Lexington had a Mandatory Face Covering Ordinance that was allowed to expire a short while back. At that point, the town’s leaders said they did not have the necessary votes to extend the ordinance another time. Since that date, scientific data has shown that cases of the COVID-19 have risen dramatically. In many areas of the country, lockdowns and mandatory face covering ordinances have been extended, reimposed, or expanded.

Some elected leaders across the nation have been either strongly supported or vehemently opposed by people in favor of or against these rules. Many more conservative government leaders have decided since some time has passed since the pandemic’s onset, and the science and understanding of the virus has improved greatly, to simply strongly recommend people comply with the precaution instead of mandating them. One local official said Tuesday afternoon that telling people what they must do seems to sometimes bring out an obstinate reaction that make citizens dig their heels in and take a more, “You can’t make me,” approach due to what some are calling COVID fatigue. "I think sometimes we've seen adults act immature because they feel their freedoms are being eroded," he said. "In other cases, people have legitimate reasons for not wearing them and I think that should be their right also." The city he represents does have a mask mandate in place.

In his message posted to social media Williams wrote, “Passing the ordinance affects the entire town, citizens and businesses alike. I would like to hear from town citizens on this ordinance. Feel free to email me @ or text me at 803-730-6395.” Williams closed by saying that a simple YES or NO will work if people do not want to comment further. “I appreciate those who take the time to respond.”

A Public Hearing will have to be held sometime in the next week during a special called meeting of the council before the ordinance can move ahead.


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