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Rock Hill city council votes to stop enforcing mask mandate

City Council voted 4-3 to stop enforcing Rock Hill's mask mandate in accordance with Gov. Henry McMaster's COVID-19 executive order.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Leaders in Rock Hill, South Carolina voted Monday to stop enforcing the city's mask mandate after Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the statewide requirement last week. 

McMaster updated Friday a previous executive order on COVID-19 regulations. According to the changes, masks will no longer be mandatory at restaurants or government buildings. The governor is still recommending face coverings and other protocols, such as social distancing.

Rock Hill City Council voted 4-3, with some council members arguing the mandate should be dropped altogether in accordance with McMaster's action. The council said they will hear comments from the public at their March 22 meeting before considering any further changes, which could include removing the mandate altogether. 

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Derrick Lindsay, who represents Ward 1, said he spoke to local pharmacies and doctors about the mask mandate. He said those he talked to believe it's too early to pull the mask requirement, instead, he suggested leaving it in place another 60 days. 

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Some leaders arguing in favor of removing the mandate said it was mostly symbolic and couldn't be enforced, anyway. Lindsay told council members he was concerned lifting the mandate would put pressure on local businesses to enforce whether customers are required to wear them. 

"People, for the most part, have respected the ordinance," said John Black. "We knew from the beginning this wasn't going to be enforceable. This was just stronger than a proclamation."

Mayor John Gettys said the mandate could be reinstituted in two weeks if there's enough public support to push council into voting for it. 

RELATED: SC restaurants respond to relaxed mask mandates

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