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BEAUFORT, S.C. (Oct. 14, 2020) – Beaufort City Council passed an extension of its mask/face covering emergency ordinance at its Regular Meeting on Oct. 13. Masks will be required until Dec. 11 in buildings that can be accessed by the public, including shops, offices, restaurants, etc. The ordinance requires that employees and the public wear masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, unless there is a medical reason that prevents someone from wearing a mask.
The State Department of Health & Environmental Control has published several studies showing that masks are effective. It compared jurisdictions in South Carolina that required masks to jurisdictions that did not, and found that the rate of disease spread was slower where masks were required.
Council also passed, on second reading, several other significant ordinances. They include:
Stormwater Protection: Ordinance bans dumping of chemicals, paints, solvents, yard debris, sewage, garbage, furniture, and many other items into any water drainage areas throughout the City. Currently, the City is working on a $6.5 million project to improve stormwater drainage infrastructure in the Mossy Oaks neighborhood. City Manager Bill Prokop noted in City Council’s Work Session on Sept. 15 that garbage, debris, tires and furniture taken from the Jane Way ditch in Mossy Oaks had to be removed to begin the project. The City has several other stormwater projects on the drawing table as well. This ordinance would help protect the City’s investment into flood mitigation and also help protect Beaufort’s waterways from contaminated runoff.
Prohibition of Aggressive Panhandling and Solicitation: Ordinance prohibits aggressive panhandling, which it defines as intentionally touching someone, or causing intimidation, or blocking or interfering with the safe passage of a pedestrian or vehicle, or soliciting on private property where signs of “No Trespassing” or “No Soliciting” are posted. This ordinance is in response to an increase in complaints to the Police Department about panhandling while diners are outside at a table, or at an ATM or night depository. These complaints have come from throughout the City, not just downtown, Prokop said during the meeting.
Prohibition of Camping in Public Places: Ordinance prohibits camping – essentially setting up shelter, storing personal belongings, cooking – on public property, including parks and grounds owned by the City of Beaufort.
Ice cream trucks: This amends an ordinance passed in 2016 that licensed and regulated food trucks, to allow ice cream trucks to be categorized with food trucks, and be allowed to operate in the City of Beaufort. The amended language says that ice cream trucks cannot be stationary at one location for more than 30 minutes, and can’t sound their bell or musical recording for more than three minutes once they have arrived at a location.
The ordinances can be found in the Oct. 13 agenda.