By Paul Gable
By a vote of 7-5, Horry County Council refused to cancel its emergency ordinance, maintaining mask mandates in the unincorporated areas.
Those voting to keep the mask mandate in place were the Deep Six (Dennis DiSabato, Harold Worley, Bill Howard, Gary Loftus, Tyler Servant and Cam Crawford) plus Orton Bellamy (who seems to be drinking more and more of the Kool Aid).
From the discussion by those voting to keep the ordinance in place, Howard, DiSabato and Loftus, it was obvious requiring masks to be worn is not about keeping the public safe. Rather it is about keeping the tourists coming, if possible. Howard said as much during his comments.
Loftus had nothing to add from himself. Instead he read a Facebook post that had been sent to him.
DiSabato attempted to give a history lesson about the smallpox and the Continental Army and a 1793 Yellow Fever breakout in Philadelphia. He told about George Washington requiring his subordinate officers to be inoculated against smallpox. Having never served in uniform, DiSabato probably doesn’t understand that an order from a commanding general has very different authority than a mask mandate from a local government.
As for the yellow fever outbreak, the local authorities in Philadelphia attempted to take some measures in line with the medicine of that time, but the federal government, of which Philadelphia was the capital at that time, had no authority to establish quarantines and the like and did not try to do so.
One other point about the 1793 outbreak – banks extended outstanding notes of businesses until the end of the outbreak with no penalty. Businesses today are suffering from the many demands on their credit, cash flow and employees while being forced into reduced business revenues as a result of the mask and social distancing mandates.
In short, their arguments were all designed to keep the county in line with city mandates, especially Myrtle Beach, to give the appearance that the area is safe for tourists. The Deep Six do as they are told by the Myrtle Beach cabal and Chamber.
Unfortunately, doing the bidding of Myrtle Beach is not a formula for success. No local government has done more to destroy businesses and tourism than Myrtle Beach city council and its various actions over the past several years. I am talking about so-called Family Friendly zones, barricades and traffic sweeps on the boulevard as well as the direct attack on businesses through license revocations that are now the subject of various lawsuits.
But, that doesn’t stop the Deep Six. They get their orders, salute and carry on smartly to the detriment of the general public in many instances.
While the mask ordinance remains in place, it was revealed that not one citation has been issued by the county to people ignoring its requirements. As council member Paul Prince pointed out, it is a law that is not being enforced, thereby effectively rendering it meaningless.
It must be noted here that DiSabato attempted a parliamentary maneuver to keep Prince from making any comment, a move that failed because Council Chairman Johnny Gardner ruled it out of order. Unfortunately such showboating is part of today’s political environment at all levels and isn’t intended to serve the general public.
Council members Al Allen and Johnny Vaught gave eloquent comments about the need to have less government intrusion into the private lives of citizens by passing mandates it has neither the intention nor ability to enforce.
There is no federal mandate, no statewide mandate for mandatory wearing of masks. Both governments have encouraged such action saying the wearing of masks may help prevent spread of the disease. Gardner made that point and added that the final decision should be left up to the individual. Ultimately it already is as there is no enforcement of a mandatory requirement in any case.
The actions of a government requiring the wearing of masks remind me of the air raid drills conducted in schools when I was young student. Those of us old enough, remember taking cover under our desks or in interior hallways as preparation for a nuclear strike. Obviously such “civil defense” actions would not have helped protect against a nuclear blast. However, the government ordered such drills as a means of assuaging public fear, I suppose, just as the mask mandate is designed to assuage tourist fears about coming to the area.
The wearing of masks probably has more scientific substance behind its logic, in that masks may help some, than hiding under wooden desks as protection against a nuclear blast did.
But it should not be left up to the Myrtle Beach cabal and Chamber to decide mandates.