CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston City Council has voted to extend it’s face mask covering ordinance. City Council also voted to no longer issue warnings to those not complying with it’s mask ordinance, instead first time offenders will receive a ticket and $100 fine. A second offense will result in a $200 fine and every time after that is $500.
Some Charleston City leaders say the time for handing out warnings has past and now they want to crack down with fines for not wearing masks.
Masks have been required for more than a month in city limits but leaders say some are still not complying with the ordinance. Dan Riccio, Director of Livability and Tourism for the City of Charleston it’s time for city leaders to step up enforcement.
“For enforcement aspects, the warning phase has been a little bit problematic,” says Riccio.
Leaders are now looking to crackdown on the seriousness, Riccio says he estimates current mask compliance to be 65 percent.
“Most of the time, all of them have masks with them but they are either in their pocket or purse or crumpled in their hand,” says Riccio.
But not everyone agrees with city council dropping the issuing of warnings from the ordinance.
“Maybe one time warning and second time ticket,” says longtime Charleston resident Adrian. “You know if we said it very loud than let’s say and they know about it then they need to get a ticket.”
Some disagree where masks should be required, Adrian believes the city’s ordinance is too strict.
“If you walk on the street you know by yourself or somebody close to you I don’t think police should stop you an give you a ticket for that,” says Adrian.
Under the amendment, offenders would be entered into a data base ensuring repeat offenders receive the $200 penalty for a second offense and $500 for a third something Riccio believes will get more to wear a mask.
“Most people are not cooperative for unknown reasons but we are still issuing summons and we are gaining compliance,” says Riccio.
And while some might not agree with masks, Riccio says it comes down to respect for others.
“I feel that they should do it for me, they should do it for the public, they should do it for other people they may come in contact with,” says Riccio.