Lamar to require face coverings for shoppers and diners
By Samantha Lyles
Lamar Town Council convened their regular monthly meeting Dec. 14 and passed an emergency ordinance requiring the wearing of face coverings in certain situations. With COVID-19 case numbers spiking across Darlington County, Lamar followed suit with Hartsville and formalized a mask mandate to suppress the virus. The ordinance specifies that masks or face coverings will be required when shopping or dining in enclosed areas. Staff at retail and food establishments will also be required to wear masks when interacting with the public, and with each other in situations where a 6-foot social distancing buffer cannot be maintained. The ordinance includes exceptions for those working or shopping in unenclosed spaces, as well as those who cannot wear masks due to religious, medical or behavioral conditions. Fines of $25 could be levied against individuals found in violation of the ordinance, and responsible individuals (such as business owners) could be fined $100 per violation. This emergency ordinance goes into effect Jan. 1 and expires in 60 days unless renewed by Town Council. Council member Angele White Bradley proposed new safety protocols for the reopening of Town Hall in January, including an alternating workday schedule. “This will allow for safer office practices as employees would rarely work in the same space at the same time,” Bradley explained. “Employee One would work Monday and Tuesday, and Employee Two would work Thursday and Friday, with offices closing at 12 p.m. on Friday.” Bradley proposed that Town Hall be sanitized daily, and that the office door be replaced with a half door and service window to cut down on unshielded face to face contact between employees and customers. She suggested that the hand sanitizer stations at all entrances should also offer masks to everyone entering the building, and that daily temperature checks be conducted for any employee who remains in Town Hall for longer than 15 minutes. Mayor Darnell Byrd McPherson voiced support for these measures and added her hope that the community will do their part to keep everyone healthy and safe while the pandemic persists. Lamar Police Department Chief Carl Scott introduced new reserve police officer Todd Christmas, who also works part time with Florence County EMS and Timmonsville Fire Department. He added that a new senior citizen outreach program called “Silver Foxes” should debut in January. It will involve officers making special efforts to visit seniors, talk with them about their concerns, and ensure their welfare through phone calls and in-person chats. Scott also said a municipal employee drug testing program is in the works, and he expects testing protocols will soon be in place for all new hires and current employees. Council member Inez Lee presented the public works report, which noted the installation of snowflake Christmas decorations on downtown utility poles, and the placement of rental sewer pumps at the Railroad Avenue lift station pending manhole repairs. Lee reported that USDA reps placed dead, frozen turkey vultures at each town water tank “in hopes of keeping the buzzards from roosting” on these tanks. She added that workers told her the vultures should last for about three months, at which time they will need to be replaced.