CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County Council will vote on Tuesday night whether to continue its mask mandate. 

The mandate is part of a state of emergency, which must be reauthorized every 60 days. The mask requirement began in July to curb a surge in coronavirus cases. 

TRACKING CORONAVIRUS: View county-by-county data

The ordinance requires people entering retail stores, restaurants, and bars to wear a  face covering. Masks aren’t required while eating or drinking. The rule also makes exceptions for religious reasons and safety issues, among others. 

Horry County’s mask mandate allows violators to be fined $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense, and $100 for each additional violation.

COVID-19 cases in communities with mask requirements dropped more than 44%, DHEC said in August, but cases have recently surged in Horry County. 

When council last discussed the mandate in September, councilman Johnny Vaught and four others voted against it. 

“That’s my decision as to whether or not to protect myself,” said Vaught. “I’ve had people say, ‘Well, you’re talking about seat belts here. You make everybody wear seat belts.’ I disagree with a seat belt law.”

At the time of the vote in September, councilman Dennis DiSabato argued for the mandate. “I’m a little fed up with the idea that we are being somehow unconstitutional by asking people to do something that makes common sense and that data has shown has been working,” he said.

County Council meets at 6 p.m. Updates will be posted to