‘It is tyranny’: Horry County councilman expresses anger over process of extending mask mandate

‘It is tyranny’: Horry County councilman expresses anger over process of extending mask mandate

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – There were some contentious words between Horry County councilmembers as the issue of extending the mask ordinance was brought up during the council meeting Tuesday night.

The potential extension of its emergency order related to COVID-19, which includes the requirements of masks in certain places, was placed under the “consent agenda” portion of the meeting, which means all items in that agenda are passed without any debate.

Councilman Al Allen objected to the issue being under the consent agenda and had some harsh words for the council.

“I would mind this council that this is such an important issue that does not need to go on the consent agenda, the people need to know what this council is about to do. It is terrible and it is tyranny to try to slide something like this over the people of Horry County by putting it in a consent agenda,” Allen said.

Chairman Johnny Gardner fought back and said that all councilmembers were made aware days in advance that the mask ordinance issue was under the consent agenda.

“Nobody is sliding anything through anybody and I take offense to that remark Mr. Al Allen. This thing is published, it’s been published, it’s on the consent agenda and I’ve said very clearly if anyone wants to debate this matter... I said just let me know, but Mr. DiSibato wants to go through the formalities of making a motion and a second having a vote then we can do that,” Gardner said.

Councilmembers took vote on whether to remove the mask ordinance issue off the consent agenda and have a debate, but the motion failed 7-5. Therefore, the ordinance requiring people to wear face masks in certain businesses has been extended another 60 days.

WMBF News spoke with councilman Gary Loftus before the meeting and he said that DHEC data indicates that the mask mandates are working and he will continue to encourage people to wear masks until coronavirus is no longer an issue.

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