NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - North Myrtle Beach’s mask mandate is now in effect, requiring customers and employees at retail stores like pharmacies and grocery stores and personal service businesses to wear a mask.
With these new safety requirements now in place, our news team wanted to see how North Myrtle Beach businesses and residents are complying with the mask ordinance.
According to North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, so far, many businesses are complying with the mandatory mask ordinance, stating wearing a mask for some establishments was already a part of their new norm.
Hatley said before the city passed the mask ordinance on Tuesday, the city had been seeing numerous residents and employees already wearing masks, particuarly inside of retail establishments, which she feels made mask compliance for some businesses a bit easier.
But there were some bumpy moments on Thursday for some North Myrtle Beach businesses and residents, who are not yet adhering to the ordinance.
“We have had a few people to call and say that in some businesses people are not wearing masks,” Hatley said. “But this is new and a lot of people may not have heard they’re [required] to wear masks but hopefully things will go smooth.”
In the last 48 hours, North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Georgetown County Council and the city of Georgetown, all passed face covering mandates before the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Hatley said having leaders on the same page and enforcing face mask mandates, will help tourists better comply with the safety guidelines, and create less confusion about what city is enforcing what rules during this pandemic
“I think it will help tourists and people that are visiting here because they have no boundaries,” Hatley said. “Sometimes they have no idea when they’re entering Myrtle Beach when they’re entering North Myrtle Beach so [more areas enforcing a mask ordinance] really does help.”
Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber Sr. feels good that so many leaders are taking the advice of medical experts and enforcing a mask mandate.
“When we take the oath of office, we are responsible for the lives of those we govern,” Barber said. “If we can do one single thing to get our tourists that come to our municipalities to wear masks, then we can have an impact on this COVID 19 virus and help to reduce the spread of it.”
Some businesses across the Grand Strand are adjusting to wearing masks inside of their business, including employees at the 45th Avenue Deli in North Myrtle Beach.
Assistant manager of 45th Avenue Deli, Joann Giordano, said wearing a mask can be difficult in the food industry, especially when cooking around heated stoves and taking orders.
“It’s hard to talk to people, they can’t hear us, we can’t hear so it’s hard to get the orders right,” Giordano said. “As a restaurant, we have to wear[masks] so I’ll do it, as much as I don’t like wearing them.”
Ashley Bowen owns the deli and said it can be tough wearing the masks but can understand the long-term benefits it might bring to the community with stopping the spread.
“I can see how it could help for sure,” Bowen said. “It’s definitely worth a try.”
Amy Howie, the owner of the Papillon Salon in North Myrtle Beach, said she understands many people have different opinions on the mask mandate topic but feels, overall, mask ordinances could help to keep everyone safer across the area.
“If it helps to keep my doors open and keep everyone safe, then that’s my number one priority,” Howie said. “I don’t care if I have to come [to work] wearing a hazmat suit, I just want to work and keep my doors open while keeping everyone safe.”