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North Myrtle Beach city leaders are debating requiring masks be used in designated areas and stores. Here a mask is on a mannequin on Main Street on Friday. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

North Myrtle Beach announced Wednesday that it would no longer enforce its mask order requirement that restaurant patrons and employee who interact with the public wear face coverings while inside, citing Gov. Henry McMaster’s decision to lift his statewide order mandating the use of masks in restaurants. 

The rest of the city’s mask mandate, including the requirements that face coverings be worn inside retailers and personal services businesses, remains in effect. 

That’s because local ordinances can’t overrule state laws. 

“No section of your ordinance can supersede any executive order or state law,” said spokesman Pat Dowling. “The governor allows cities and counties to have mask ordinances. But if he has something in his executive order about a mask requirement and moves it to a guideline, yours is dead on arrival.” 

If the governor had never made masks in restaurants a part of his executive order, individual city ordinances requiring the use of masks in eateries could have remained in place, according to Dowling. 

Conversely, Dowling added, “if he had something in place that was a statewide face covering ordinance in general, and then moved everything into the category of suggested guidelines, we’d be out of businesses.” 

The city still encourages mask usage inside restaurants despite the change in enforcement. 

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