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Community reacts to Town of Lexington mask ordinance

After two hours of public input on Monday night, town council voted 5-2 to have a face mask ordinance until May 1st of 2021.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — The Town of Lexington has now approved another face mask ordinance.

The previous ordinance ended back in November and it was not renewed because Town Council didn't have the votes to do so.

Town council held a public hearing on Monday night to hear the thoughts of the community.

After two hours of public input, town council voted 5-2 to have a face mask ordinance until May 1st of 2021.

The ordinance is similar to one passed in other jurisdictions around the state that essentially require masks in retail outlets. An amendment was also passed to ask that masks be in compliance with CDC guidelines, and that people should following guidelines about social distancing and washing hands as well.

RELATED: Lexington passes mask ordinance that lasts until May of next year

Some councilmembers opposed to the ordinance said they thought it was unnecessary, since many retail stores require the face coverings. But Mayor Steve MacDougall and others said they'd heard from Lexington Medical Center's CEO, other business leaders, and local schools that the mandate was necessary to keep hospitals from exceeding capacity and to allow instruction and businesses to remain open.

Although cases were rising before then, South Carolina has seen a large spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving. The county of Lexington set a one-day record for cases with 210 on December 16.  

Street Squad went to Downtown Lexington to hear what the community thinks.

"I own a business here in Lexington and for us, we just want our customers to feel comfortable so if they feel more comfortable wearing a mask, then they definitely should," said one Lexington business owner. "If they feel comfortable without it, then that should be up to them as well. We wear them in the store just to kind of make everyone feel comfortable regardless."

One person posted on our Facebook post about the ordinance saying, "Just government trying to control you. Mask don't work, just destroys your immune system. Wake up."

A spokesperson with the town says it is possible the ordinance could be lifted before May if town council chooses to do so.

RELATED: Where to get COVID-19 testing in the Midlands Dec. 28-Jan. 3