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Columbia strengthens mask ordinance, raises violation fine

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Mayor Steve Benjamin and Columbia City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance that amends the emergency ordinance extending mask face coverings. Also this emergency ordinance extends the temporary suspension of the normal operating procedures of City Council and City Boards and Commissions meetings.

Amendments to the ordinance include fines and stipulations for not wearing masks on a busy sidewalk waiting area, or popular outdoor area where it is impractical or impossible to maintain six feet of distance at all times.

“It is important to note that not only has the penalty increased but that the circumstances where masks are required has also expanded,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin.

The previous ordinance would have expired on November 15, 2020. The extension approved by City Council today extends the ordinance to expire on the 61st day after enactment of this ordinance.

Extending the temporary suspension of meetings allows the Mayor, Council Members, Board Members and Commission Members to remotely participate in voting and operational procedures by telephone or other means of electronic communication and extends the requirement that face coverings or masks be work in public in the City of Columbia.

Additionally, a person who is found guilty of not complying with the ordinance will be fined up to $100, as opposed to the previous amount of $25.

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