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Mount Pleasant, Summerville pass face-covering laws

Staff Report //June 30, 2020//

Mount Pleasant, Summerville pass face-covering laws

Staff Report //June 30, 2020//

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Following the lead of several other cities and towns, Mount Pleasant and Summerville passed emergency laws Monday to require face coverings within town limits.

Gov. Henry McMaster has not asked for a statewide mandate for face coverings, even as he has urged businesses and members of the public to wear masks and to make prudent decisions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Greenville, Columbia and Charleston have all passed ordinances. North Charleston is urging residents and visitors to wear masks, but the city is not mandating them.

The laws for Summerville and Mount Pleasant vary in terms of requirements and fines for violations.

Mount Pleasant

In Mount Pleasant, the ordinance requires face coverings in certain businesses. The law goes into effect Wednesday and lasts 61 days.

The ordinance requires businesses to display “conspicuous signage” at all entrances to inform customers about the face mask requirement, but businesses are not expected to enforce the law.

Specifically, anyone entering a grocery store, pharmacy, or Mount Pleasant government building or facility must wear a face covering while inside the building. The law specifies that a grocery store includes any retailer that primarily sells food but does not include convenience stores. The fine for customers is no more than $25, the ordinance said.

All restaurants, retail stores, salons, barbershops, grocery stores, pharmacies and town facilities and buildings also must require employees to wear a face covering “at all times while having face-to-face interaction with the public or other employees.”

The fine for businesses is no more than $100 for each day, but the law specified that if a business repeatedly violates the face-covering law for employees, its business license could be suspended and certificate of occupancy revoked.

Mount Pleasant specified several exemptions to the law:

  • Anyone who cannot safely wear a mask because of age or underlying health condition. The town also specified that no one is required to disclose the nature of any health condition to be exempt from the face-covering law under this exemption.
  • Anyone 12 or younger, if adults require children 2 to 12 to wear a covering in areas specified by the ordinance.
  • Anyone with religious beliefs that prevent them from wearing a face covering.
  • In private and individual offices.
  • At swimming pools.
  • During athletic activities.
  • While receiving oral health services, such as dental work.
  • First responders, when impractical or when it might not be feasible while responding to an emergency.


Flowertown in the Pines is requiring customers to wear face masks inside all enclosed retail businesses, food service establishments and government buildings. The law (.pdf) goes into effect Wednesday and expires after nine days.

Summerville also is requiring business owners and operators to ensure that employees wear face coverings while interacting with the public or each other where social distancing isn’t possible.

The town’s ordinance requires face coverings in public when social distancing of 6 feet isn’t possible. Face coverings also have to be worn in public gatherings and when “interacting with people in outdoor spaces.” This includes curbside pickup, deliveries and service calls, the ordinance said.

Fines for violating the law is $25 to $100 for citizens. Businesses found in violation will have to pay at least $100 and up to $500. Like Mount Pleasant, if a business repeatedly violates the law, its business license and certificate of occupancy could be revoked.

Face masks also must be worn when using ride-hailing services, taxis or public transportation in Summerville.

Summerville specified several exemptions to the face-coverings law:

  • Outdoor or unenclosed areas at businesses where 6 feet of social distancing is observed.
  • Those who cannot wear face coverings because of medical or behavioral conditions.
  • Children under 12 do not have to wear face coverings as long as an adult tries to ensure that children older than 2 wear coverings while inside businesses and restaurants.
  • Customers in restaurants do not have to wear face masks while dining, seated or socially distanced while eating.
  • Private offices are exempt, and employees who are separated from customers by Plexiglas or a glass shield also do not have to wear masks.
  • Swimming pools are exempt.
  • Those receiving dental care and services are exempt.
  • Members of a family or household do not have to wear masks in their homes.
  • First responders do not have to wear face masks when it’s not practical while responding to a public safety matter or emergency.
  • Law enforcement officers can direct individuals to remove face coverings under the law.