Countywide face covering requirement voted down in Sumter


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Sumter County Council voted down an ordinance that would have required face coverings to be worn in county restaurants and businesses.

There was a vote of 3-4 on Tuesday, with Councilman Artie Baker, Councilman Jimmy Byrd, Councilman Charles Edens and Councilman Chris Sumpter voting in opposition. The ordinance required a two-thirds vote to be approved.

The vote came after Baker said he had concerns with the wording in the ordinance and how it would affect county businesses.

As an example, Baker mentioned car wash business owners and employees working outdoors. He didn't think employees should be required to wear a mask while washing a vehicle.

The emergency ordinance would have required face coverings to be worn by all persons entering any commercial or public building open in Sumter County. It also would have required a covering to be worn in all restaurants, retail establishments, salons, grocery stores and pharmacies for both customers and employees. The proposed requirement also applied to those providing transportation services and all businesses or employees while interacting with people in outdoor spaces including, but not limited to, curbside pickup, delivery and service calls.

Baker said he was concerned that someone would turn a business in for an employee not wearing a mask, and the business owner would be given a violation and could lose his or her business license for repeated violations.

The ordinance proposed repeated violations at any business or establishment could result in the county seeking suspension or revocation of the business license issued by the county.

Animal Control Shelter to receive additional position

Also during Tuesday's meeting, Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney said a request to add an additional position at the Sumter County Animal Control Shelter was brought before the Personnel/Technology Committee Meeting.

The committee motioned approval of the request, and council unanimously approved it.

Administration Building to reopen next week

County Administrator Gary Mixon said employees started moving back into the Administration Building last week.

As part of the Penny for Progress initiative, a referendum that Sumter voters approved first in 2008 and again in 2014 to fund capital projects throughout the county by raising the sales tax in the county by 1 cent and funneling those pennies to the initiative, the Sumter County Administration Building received a makeover and expansion at a cost of $2.8 million.

Mixon said the building is not fully functional yet, but they will eventually get there as they start moving employees back into their offices. He hopes the building will be fully functional by the end of the week and that they can open back up to the public on Monday.

rezoning of Property on Loring Mill Road passes 2nd reading

The second reading of a request to rezone 12.1 acres from residential-15 to agricultural conservation at 1855 Loring Mill Road underwent a public hearing.

Applicant Jeffery Faw made the request with plans to develop two single-family homes on the property. The land is across from agricultural conservation and the military protection plan.

With the request being compatible with the 2040 Land Use Plan and military protection, the planning commission recommended approval of the request.

No one spoke during the public hearing, but the applicant addressed council to thank them for the consideration.

Without discussion, council unanimously approved the second reading. It must undergo three readings to be passed.