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Lexington face covering ordinance expired November 2nd, will not be extended at this time

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) - The town of Lexington's Mandatory Face Covering emergency ordinance expired on Monday, November 2nd, 2020. According to Lexington’s Mayor Steve MacDougall, it will not be renewed at this time. 

MacDougall said in an email to the Lexington Ledger, “There was not a super majority [sic] pass the ordinance for the third time.” He went on to say that the leaders of the town strongly encourage everyone to wear a face covering if they cannot social distance; however, he will continue to wear a face covering himself. He also said that the town of Lexington's leaders will follow DHEC’s reports closely and if the need arises, the council will revisit the issue again. 

The mandatory face covering ordinance was first put into place in an emergency meeting of the council on July 2nd, 2020. It was extended for another 60 days on August the 30th of this year.

That ordinance mandated that people cover their faces whenever they were in retail establishments. It also included employees that interacted with the public or in areas where they interacted with other workers and space wouldn’t allow for social distancing. There were a lot of exemptions and exceptions included that allowed people not to wear the mask if necessary. There was also no fine or provision that required the Lexington Police Department to enforce face covering ordinance. SEE THE ORGINAL ORDINANCE HERE

One Lexington Ledger reader emailed the staff Thursday reminding us that the order had expired. She wrote, “Columbia hardened up their mask ordinance today but sadly I haven’t seen anything about Lexington letting the mask ordinance lapse.” As her email shows, she is apparently a supporter of the mandate. 

Others disagreed adamantly with the mandate entirely from day one. Those people expressed themselves vocally saying that the citizens of the Town of Lexington County, the county, and the United States should make their own decisions regarding covering their face based on their own risk assessment of the virus. One emailed saying, “We're all grown people, and this is still America. Being an American comes with certain rights and freedoms. If people want to wear a mask over their face, they have the right to do so. If they don't want to wear a mask, they have a right not to as well.”

Lexington’s ordinance, and the ones of other municipalities passed across the Midlands, created a number of heated social media debates from the various viewpoints. There were people who were very much in support of the local government telling everyone they had to cover their faces in public. There were also people who took the attitude that they could take the proper precautions without being told to do so by the government. Then, there was a faction that said they would never wear one no matter what. All had arguments they felt supported their decision. Many times, these went from debates to angry, very vocal rants that indicated that people of every viewpoint were angry with those who thought differently. It remains to be seen what reaction people will have to Lexington’s order not being renewed. 

At this point, Lexington’s town leaders are leaving it up to you to decide. We will update this story if their decision changes in the future.  


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