Summerville has joined other municipalities in South Carolina in requiring people to wear masks.
At an emergency Town Council meeting Monday, members voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that requires face coverings in food-service and retail establishments.
The ordinance will go into effect Wednesday and last for nine days. It will be reviewed again July 9, when council will vote on whether to extend the ordinance.
"I hope it will work," Councilman Walter Bailey said. "I hope it is very temporary."
At the special meeting, council members debated whether to require parents to make sure children under 12 wear masks. Bailey pushed to loosen those rules, and council approved altering the ordinance language to only recommend children wear a face covering.
Mayor Ricky Waring told council members that he came to his decision after discussing the pandemic with medical experts. They convinced him that wearing a mask is one of the main protections available now.
"Right now, that's the only thing we got," he said, noting there is no vaccine yet. "Other towns around us are passing ordinances similar to this."
Council will revisit the ordinance next week, and if it is extended, members will continue to review the ordinance at every meeting.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 49 cases of the coronavirus in Dorchester County. The county has seen over 600 cases of the virus since the emergence of the pandemic.
DHEC estimates that there are nearly 4,000 cases in the county.