Hilton Head Island Mandates Face Masks for All

A popular tourist destination in South Carolina has passed a new ordinance mandating facial coverings for customers and employees in all commercial spaces.

According to The Island Packet, government officials in Hilton Head Island announced a new rule that requires everyone living in or visiting the town to wear a face mask, a regulation that goes into effect on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. local time.

While the ordinance does not apply to public parks or beaches, the mask requirements are for all employees and customers at bars, restaurants, hotel lobbies and other popular spots for tourists and locals.

As for the penalties for people in violation of the order, police will consider the crime a misdemeanor, a charge that carries a fine of up to $500 or 30 days in jail. Hilton Head Island doesn’t have its own police force, so the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department will enforce the ordinance.

The rule does have exemptions, though, such as people who can’t wear masks due to their age, underlying health conditions, receiving medical care or consuming food and beverages.

Officials said passing the order and implementing it immediately was important ahead of what is expected to be a busy Independence Day week on the island. Stores are required to post signage explaining the rules at all entrances.

Surrounding towns such as Bluffton and Beaufort are working to coordinate their mask rules to avoid confusion.

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