YORK – York’s new ordinance which mandates the use of masks in public indoor places is now currently in effect. And it will remain in effect until Jan. 15, 2021.
That was decided last week during a meeting of the city’s board of health, which is made up of the mayor, president of the council, chief of police, the city administrator and the city physician.
The board rarely meets or makes policy – it was designed to handle business only during a health crisis. The pandemic qualifies as such, local officials have said, and the Four Corners Health Department Board along with local healthcare providers asked that the board of health meet to determine whether or not a mask mandate should be put in place.
The emergency ordinance says that “all individuals five and older shall wear a face covering over their mouth and nose while indoors in a premises that is open to the general public including, but not limited to, educational institutions, unless the individual maintains a minimum of six feet of separate or social distance at all times from anyone who is not a member of the individual’s household.
“Except, face coverings will not be required if the individual:
• Is seeking federal, state or county services;
• Is seated at a bar, restaurant or their seat at an arena to eat or drink, or while immediately consuming food and beverages;
• Is engaged in an occupation preventing the wearing of face covering or;
• Is obtaining a service or purchasing goods or services that requires the temporary removal of the face covering; or
• Is asked to remove a face covering to verify an identity for lawful purposes; or
• Is providing a speech, lecture or broadcast to an audience so long as six feet of distancing from other individuals is maintained; or
• Cannot otherwise wear a face covering because of a medical condition, a mental health condition, or a disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to wear a face covering.
The draft also says, “any individual or entity which maintains premises that are open to the general public shall require all individuals five and older to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose while indoors in said premises unless the individual maintains a minimum of six feet of separate or social distance at all times from anyone who is not a member of the individual’s household.”
It also adds that it is the responsibility of individuals or entities that maintain premises open to the public to post one or more signs instructing all persons to wear face coverings as required by the mandate.
It also lists what the mandate would not apply to: children under five, individuals at work where masks would create a hazard, individuals alone in a work situation, individuals working behind Plexiglas, individuals who are working alone or in a socially distanced setting, officiants at religious services, individuals engaged in activities where their face covering would get wet, individuals who are exercising, musicians while playing music that would be made difficult or impossible by wearing a mask, public safety workers and participants in the process of playing in a sporting event.
The draft says that if someone would fail to comply, it could be considered an infraction which could bring a $25 fine for an initial offense.
The initial draft of the mandate said it would expire at 11:59 p.m., on Feb. 23, 2021, but the health board members said they wanted an earlier expiration date – which can later be extended if necessary.