Conway mayor considers mask mandate after recovering from COVID-19

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – City of Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy, who just recovered from the coronavirus along with her husband, said there should be a mask mandate issued for the city.

The coronavirus survivors said they are grateful to see another day. “I could’ve died,” Blain-Bellamy said. “And others, probably me included, still could die,” she explained. After weeks of recovering, the mayor said the safety of others depends on the community.

“We are offering it [coronavirus] to our locals and our friends and co-workers. I believe wearing a mask would help to curtail the spread,” she said.

As coronavirus cases are on an incline, officials are making continuous efforts to slow the spread while keeping the economy afloat. State Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that local municipalities are allowed to pass an ordinance requiring masks to be worn in public.

However, Blain-Bellamy believes it could take time to convince Conway City Council to get a majority vote for a mask mandate, which is why an emergency has not been called.

News13 asked viewers on Facebook their thoughts on requiring masks to be worn in public. A majority of those who responded agreed there should be.

Mayor Blain-Bellamy said a mask mandate is absolutely necessary right now. “You are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem,” she said.

“I don’t believe that everyday for the rest of our lives COVID is going to have such a strong impact, but I do believe today is our opportunity to stop it in its tracks,” she explained.

Kelsey Todd, lead manager at Burkes Outlet in Conway, said she is fearful of working around people without masks. “About 60% of our people wear masks and the other 20 – no masks – come in here coughing and sneezing,” she explained.

Others, like Joe Meriwether, aren’t so sure that masks should be required in public. “I kind of feel like it should be a personal choice,” Meriwether explained. “You know masks are comfortable for some people and they’re not so comfortable for others.”

The upcoming council meeting to discuss these concerns won’t be held until Monday, July 6. The mayor said she isn’t sure when a decision is expected to be made.

In the meantime, she encourages others to do their part in slowing the spread of the coronavirus and recommends residents share their thoughts of wearing masks in public by sending an email to mayor@cityofconway.com or calling 843-248-1760.

The CDC continues to suggest wearing a mask in populated spaces while making sure the nose and mouth area are completely covered.

Count on News13 for updates.

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