ROCK HILL, S.C. — The City of Rock Hill voted Monday night to rescind its mask mandate. The ordinance has been in place since the summer of 2020.
The decision came down to a 5-2 vote from Rock Hill City Council.
The move came after South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster recently signed an executive order to lift the statewide mask mandate. On March 5, McMaster relaxed mask rules for restaurants and state government buildings, saying it was largely because COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are going down, in addition to the increase in vaccinations.
Critics of the mandate in Rock Hill said it was nearly impossible to enforce, and that whether or not citizens wear masks should be a personal choice. Those in favor of the mandate argued it was for the safety of essential workers who cannot choose to stay home.
"Once this mandate is taken off the books, anybody can walk in any store without a mask and have no regard for the employees at that business," Rock Hill city councilmember Nikita Jackson (Ward 5) said. "And if don't nobody else speak up for those individuals we as public servants should address that and speak up for them."
Meanwhile, councilmember John Black (Ward 4) critiqued the mandate, saying restrictions should be eased as COVID-19 metrics improve.
"The numbers are going down and it's time to take a mandate and let the citizens decide for themselves if it's their need to protect themselves.