Conway’s mask mandate in ‘essential’ businesses leads to confusion

Confusion among residents, businesses over Conway mask ordinance

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) – Conway’s mask mandate is now in effect, but it’s causing some confusion among the community and businesses.

The Conway City Council passed an ordinance on Monday that states people are required to wear masks in “essential” businesses, but it has some questioning what counts as essential.

“If a business was open during the quarantine period, then they were deemed essential,” Councilman William Goldfinch explained.

He said that the council was placed in a “no-win” situation, knowing that not everyone would agree with their decision regarding masks.

“We did our best to try to come to some compromise so that we could move on,” Goldfinch said.

Goldfinch and Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said the council decided essential businesses would be defined by Gov. Henry McMaster, who shutdown non-essential businesses earlier in the year when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

RELATED LINK | S.C. Department of Commerce Guidance on Non-Essential Businesses

“If you go into a restaurant or a bar you have a choice. You don’t have to be there you can stay at home and protect yourself. But you don’t have a choice of whether or not you go to a grocery store,” Goldfinch said.

Though the ordinance does not require masks inside restaurants, the city council did pass a resolution encouraging everyone to wear a mask and support any business who chooses to put their own mask mandate in place.

“There are many establishments that have on their own said, to be able to come here and do business with us, you must wear a mask,” Blain-Bellamy said.

Blain-Bellamy tested positive for the coronavirus last month and felt its physical impact. She said at this point there’s no step not worth taking to prevent the virus from spreading further.

“If the numbers continue to rise, I’m afraid that the openings we’ve made will become closures again. That would devastate the economy. We certainly don’t wanna go backwards in that regards either,” Blain-Bellamy said.

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