Horry County Council rejects motion to reinstate county mask mandate

Horry County Council rejects motion to reinstate county mask mandate

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The issue of requiring masks in certain places in Horry County, made its way back to the council chambers on Monday night.

Horry County does not have a mask mandate after councilmembers voted in October to not extend it.

At the start of Monday’s meeting, Councilman Harold Worley made a motion to bring the mask ordinance back on the table by reintroducing the original ordinance that was councilmembers voted to amend on Oct. 20. The language of that ordinance was changed from “masks required” to “masks strong encouraged."

Worley had hoped that reintroducing the ordinance would allow the council to reconsider the “mask required” language again.

Almost every councilmember spoke on the matter.

“I can’t see why we wouldn’t want to protect other people,” said Councilman Gary Loftus, who is in favor of a mask mandate. “If it saves one life, then it’s well worth it.”

“I’ve received more negative communications via telephone, email, written correspondence, urging us to continue with the mask mandate, than I did on any other controversial issue I’ve dealt with while I’ve been on council, including the firearm discharge ordinance,” said Councilman Dennis DiSabato.

While others were not in favor of requiring people to wear masks.

“I could probably count 50 positives that I have had standing up for people’s rights to self-determine whether or not they must wear a mask,” said Councilman Johnny Vaught. “I don’t feel like I was elected to tell people what they have to do to protect themselves.”

“We going to mandate the masks, mandate washing your hands, mandate getting a flu shot, mandate you have to stay six-feet apart. If you going to do it, do the whole thing, or don’t do any of it,” said Councilman Danny Hardee.

In a 4-8 vote, the Horry County Council voted to not reconsider the mask mandate.

But they did vote in favor of the county drafting a resolution that would strongly recommend people wear a mask on their own.

“I think this is the best way to go about doing it instead of a mandate,” said Councilman Cam Crawford. “I think a strong conversation will help facilitate public health in these different areas and different retail establishment.”

The council asked the county’s attorney to draft the resolution so it can be discussed at the next meeting.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.