Columbia’s mask ordinance, and potential violations, are by far the biggest issue concerning people who make complaints or other inquiries to the local health department.
Of 161 messages logged from a variety of sources including web submissions, emails and telephone messages, 106 involved how businesses were enforcing the mask ordinance.
In response to a Sunshine Law request, the city provided the Tribune a detailed log of the messages, which include masks not being worn at day care centers, grocery stores, and other businesses.
In some instances, the messages stated, managers and employees said they were told not to confront customers who won’t wear masks, instead encouraging them to do so and providing a mask if needed.
“I was surprised to be told by the cashier and bagger that they can encourage customers to wear masks but can’t make anyone do it,” one message stated about a visit to a Columbia