Columbia Fire issues 130 mask violations in 3 days

Columbia Fire issues 130 mask violations in 3 days
Columbia Fire issues 130 mask violations in 3 days (Source: Adam Mintzer)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The weekend before Thanksgiving, Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said his team wrote 130 citations for mask violations from Thursday to Saturday night.

This is more than double the total number of citations Columbia Fire has handed out since the mask ordinance was put in place in June. Prior to this weekend, Jenkins said his team had only written about 50 tickets, more than half of them over Halloween weekend.

Since Columbia City Council passed a stricter mask ordinance at the start of November, the citation fee for not wearing a mask in public was raised from $25 to $100. Further, it is now required that people wear masks when they are not social distancing even when they are outside.

Chief Aubrey Jenkins says the overwhelming majority of citations issued came from the Five Points neighborhood, despite having fire marshals stationed around the city.

“It’s just alarming that people are still not adhering to wearing a mask, and there are still these lines forming,” Jenkins said about the long lines seen outside some bars in the area.

Jenkins said this weekend was a “no-tolerance” weekend, which contributed to the rise in tickets.

“You hate to give out citations, but we have been warning people for months,” Jenkins said.

However, the Chief knows his team didn’t cite everyone who was breaking the rules.

“If we wrote 130 citations, [and] we couldn’t get everyone, just think about the ones we did not write,” he added.

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