LANCASTER (CBSLA) – Residents who do not wear face masks in the city of Lancaster will now face a misdemeanor charge.

The City Council and Mayor Rex Parris voted at the council’s meeting Tuesday to authorize the city to enforce the mandatory public use of face masks and makes any violation of the mask requirement a misdemeanor.

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Under the ordinance put in place since April, face coverings have been required while out in public. But city officials say the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases prompted the council to take action.

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The new ordinance passed by the City Council modifies the municipal code to “make any person violating the City’s existing mask-wearing requirement guilty of a misdemeanor.”

“The goal of this ordinance, and of our law enforcement in Lancaster in general, is to promote peace, safety, and public welfare in our communities,” Parris said. “While I would hope everyone knows by now the importance of wearing a mask, the fact that violations are now misdemeanors is one more reason to do the right thing and mask up.”

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Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or jail for a period not exceeding six months, or both, according to the ordinance.