The Atlantic Beach Town Council on Monday approved a mandatory mask ordinance, joining growing list of other Horry County municipalities that have also passed mask mandate rules to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
"I think it's known worldwide as well, that the best thing people can be doing is wearing masks, so that's what we're doing," said Mayor Jake Evans.
The council also voted to cancel the Atlantic Beach Bikefest. Citing COVID-19, the city initially moved the festival, usually held on Memorial Day weekend, to Labor Day weekend. But on Monday, council voted to cancel the festival altogether. Evans cited public health directives against large public gatherings as the reason for the cancellation.
"That's it; time to do the right thing," Evans said.
The new mask ordinance, similar to one passed in North Myrtle Beach last Tuesday, requires any person going into a personal service business like a nail salon or barbershop, or any retailer, such as a grocery store or pharmacy, to wear a mask upon entry.
The ordinance also requires employees of restaurants, retailers and personal services businesses to wear a mask when interacting with members of the public.
It becomes effective Tuesday at noon.
There are some exceptions. People who cannot safely wear a mask due to health reasons, those with a religious objections and those who cannot put on and take off a mask without assistance are exempt.
If a mask gets in the way of a personal service being provided, say, a hair cut, the mask can be taken off while the person is receiving the service, the ordinance says.
The rules will be enforced by Atlantic Beach police and code enforcement.
Businesses do not have to enforce the new rules for people entering their businesses, but must post "conspicuous signage" at all entrances.
Residents who violate the mask order face a penalty of not more than $25. Businesses who violate the new ordinance face a fine of not more than $100.
Several residents in town have tested positive for COVID-19, including councilor Jacqui Gore, who tested positive at a mobile clinic held in the town last month. She was asymptomatic but went into quarantine.
"There's a pandemic going on in the world," Gore said. "Everybody should have a mask on. That's why we made the decision, because we're like everybody else."