COVINGTON, Ga. — The Covington City Council approved two amendments to its current mask mandate Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Effective immediately, everyone age 9 and older is required to wear a face covering if unable to maintain six-foot distancing. The age requirement first approved Aug. 27 was age 8 and older. Mayor Steve Horton said the change was made to coincide with a similar amendment made on the county level.
The second amendment was to clarify how anyone who did not comply with the order would be penalized.
Before, the city approved a civil penalty of no more than $50. The amendment passed Wednesday night changed the penalty to a criminal fine of no more than $50 for disorderly conduct — a misdemeanor.
As a civil penalty, city police were unable to properly enforce the order, but the amendment making it a criminal penalty gave them full authority.
When asked if there had been any issues trying to enforce the mask mandate, police said everyone had been compliant to date.
The mandate requires residents to wear a face covering on city properties but excludes private and residential properties. Masks are not required while eating or drinking, or if socially distanced at least six feet apart. Masks are not required to be medical grade, so long as they cover the nose and mouth, according to the resolution, and bandanas, scarves or other similar fabrics are sufficient.
The mandate remains in effect until the governor's executive order allowing local governments to institute such ordinances expires or the city decides to revoke the ordinance.