On August 2, Governor Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-50, announcing guidelines related to the reopening of restaurants and public gatherings in South Carolina are now mandatory, not just recommended. He has directed state and local law enforcement to enforce these measures. Certain busines, defined by the Order and including restaurants, must now follow guidelines for customers and employees. For customers, the biggest change is the requirement to wear a mask to enter a restaurant, but not while you are actively eating. You may also not congregate in bar areas and capacity is limited to 50%. Many of our businesses have already had these measures in place, however now they are required by the Governor. Further details on the change in operations can be found in the text of the Order, available at governor.sc.gov.
Additionally, the Governor is requiring that all events, festivals, and entertainment venues to adhere to reduced capacity (50% or 250 people, whichever is less), masks required for admission, and other measures. This includes outdoor events, with few exceptions.
In July, Council approved a resolution to encourage the use of masks throughout the City, but not require them. There is no face mask requirement in Fountain Inn outside of the new requirements ordered by the Governor. These directives by the Governor are challenging for all local governments to wrestle with and enforce. Our goal in Fountain Inn continues to be to respect the law and strive for safety in all our activities.
Due to the Governor’s Executive Order mandates, the City has made the difficult decision to cancel the Sounds of Summer Concert Series until further notice. The Farmers Market, however, will continue for the duration of the season. To meet the requirements set forth by the Governor, capacity will be restricted and masks will be required for attendees over the age of two (2) with exceptions made for underlying health conditions that restrict the wearing of a mask.
Our Wing Fest set for September 11 is canceled because the City expects attendance to be more than the 250-person limit set by the Governor. While we wish we could wait to issue this decision closer to September, our vendors, participants, and others need to know well in advance so they can adjust their plans.
The Police Department’s Autism Awareness 5K set for October 31 has been postponed until March 2021. Additionally, the 2020 Police Department Golf Tournament and National Night Out has been canceled. Non-City events held on public property with a permit or rental agreement will be asked to submit a detailed plan of how they intend to meet the requirements of the Governor’s Executive Order. The Fountain Inn Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Aunt Het Annual Family Festival.
The Governor’s Executive Order also lists parks as public gathering venues, and therefore they fall under the same mandates. Attendance at gymnasiums and parks is restricted to fifty percent (50%) of the location’ occupancy limit or two hundred fifty (250) people, whichever is less. The same mask requirements for restaurants, events, festivals, and entertainments venues are also in place for the City’s Parks & Recreation facilities. This means that all individuals (staff and visitors) are required to wear a face mask and social distance at our park’s facilities and Activities Center unless the individual is engaged in exercise or physical activity (playing is included).
The Supreme Court of South Carolina has issued an order requiring the use of masks in municipal courthouses. During courtroom proceedings, the judge may require the removal of masks for a brief period for the fair presentation of cases, but social distancing will still need to be observed. Non-litigants are not allowed inside the courthouse. In addition, all individuals entering municipal court will be required to be screened for fever by courthouse staff using an infrared or temporal thermometer. Anyone who registers a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above will not be permitted to enter.
City Hall’s main lobby entrance is closed and there are now designated employee entrance/exits. Wearing of masks is strongly encouraged and we ask you not to enter if experiencing any symptoms. There are instructions posted at City Hall for access to various City services. Also, the Natural Gas main lobby is currently closed, but customers can utilize the drive-through window, building drop box, or make payments online.
All meetings of City Council are being conducted via Zoom and are live streamed for the public to view and hear on the City’s Facebook Page. You can also view the recordings of these meetings at fountaininn.org/news.html
Additional Resources: SC DHEC: scdhec.gov/covid19 | CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html | City Website: fountaininn.org | AccelerateSC: https://www.accelerate.sc.gov
Shawn Bell is the City Administrator of Fountain Inn. For more information, go to www.fountaininn.org, call 864-862-4421, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.■