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Cayce issues order requiring face masks in public as COVID-19 cases rise

People will now be required to wear a face mask in all public buildings.

CAYCE, S.C. — The City of Cayce is requiring people to wear a face mask in public again in an effort to stop the accelerated spread of the coronavirus.

The council unanimously adopted the rule Tuesday night at their city council meeting. It goes into effect at 6:00 am on Friday, September 10 and will last 61 days. 

The emergency ordinance requires anyone over two years old to wear a face covering while inside a building or structure that is open to the public. There are exceptions for people with a disability who cannot wear a mask. 

Additional exclusions are provided for anyone seated in a restaurant, anyone engaged in exercise inside of a fitness center or studio; or anyone who is unable to safely wear a face covering due to age, an underlying health condition, religious reasons, or is unable to remove the face covering without assistance. 

Schools or daycare facility are not part of the ordinance. 

The city said they did it because of the rise in cases and at the request of Lexington Medical Center, the hospital that serves the Cayce area. The letter said the hospital was "overwhelmed" by COVID patients and was having to cut nonemergency procedures. The ICU on many days has reached maximum capacity. 

The hospital said it is having to ration surgeries and patient card and it has affected cancer screenings. 

“With only roughly 4 out of every 10 people in a room in SC vaccinated, we are stuck in the same place we were last year, and maybe even worse," Cayce Mayor Elise Partin said in a statement. "The hospital is pleading with us to mask up until we get more people vaccinated."

The latest numbers from DHEC show over 1,000 coronavirus cases in Lexington County in just the last four days. The county had 33 COVID-19 related deaths last week alone. 

Cayce passed a mask requirement in summer of 2020 and kept it in place through spring of 2021, but it expired after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster allowed the state of emergency to lapse.