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Columbia council votes to extend citywide mask mandate

The mask requires people to wear masks in most public spaces.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Columbia City Council has extended the city's emergency mask order for another 60 days as the town continues to work through a high rate of COVID-19 spread. 

The council approved the measure during their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.  The ordinance, first approved on September 8, was set to expire this week. 

The mask requires people to wear masks in most public spaces. According to the ordinance, individuals who are caught violating the mandate, could be fined up to $100.00.

The massive surge in virus cases that began in the summer has waned in recent weeks. The latest numbers from Sunday showed 1,248 cases, the lowest one-day total statewide since July 25. At its peak during the current surge, there were over 6,000 daily cases recorded. 

However, hospitals remain at a high level of COVID-19 patients, although that number has started to decline as well. There would still need to be a considerable drop to go back to the levels seen in the late spring and early summer. 

Here are the exceptions to the city's ordinance:

A. In personal vehicles

B. When a person is alone in enclosed spaces; during outdoor physical activity, provided the active person maintains a minimum of six (6) feet from other people at all times

C. When a person is alone or only with other household members; d. While drinking, eating or smoking

E. When wearing a face covering causes or aggravates a health condition.

F. When wearing a face covering would prevent the receipt of personal services. 

G. When a person is five (5) years of age or younger."