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Issue# 2021-17 | August 17, 2021



County Connections


Information you can use and share with our community



County Council Issues Emergency Mask Ordinance for Schools, Day Cares


In response to rising cases of the coronavirus delta variant in the community, Richland County Council on Aug. 16, 2021 adopted an emergency ordinance requiring face coverings to be worn in school buildings and day care facilities to slow the spread of the disease. 


As outlined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of COVID-19. Council’s emergency ordinance aims to protect children age 12 and younger, who currently cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine.


The ordinance, focusing on public and private schools or day cares whose purpose is to educate or care for children ages 2-14, requires all faculty, staff, visitors, and children older than 2 to wear a mask or face covering while inside those buildings. The ordinance does not apply to high schools.


Exemptions are included for those unable to safely wear a face covering because of age or an underlying health condition, and for those unable to remove a face covering without assistance. 


The emergency ordinance expires October 15.



Councilman Pugh Helps with Supply Drive


Richland County Councilman Derrek Pugh and Columbia City Councilman Ed McDowell are vying to see who can collect the most school supplies for children in and around their respective districts. Pugh and McDowell represent District 2 in the County and City, respectively.


Drop off materials for the Back to School Supply Drive from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21 at Page Ellington Park, 1640 Freed Drive, Columbia. All manner of school supplies will be accepted, including but not limited to book bags, notebooks, paper, pencils and colored pencils, and pens.


You can also donate toward Councilman Pugh’s effort before Aug. 21 by dropping items off at the County Clerk of Council’s office on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building, 2020 Hampton St., Columbia. Monetary donations will not be accepted.



Is Your Business Disaster Ready?


Richland County’s small business community has done a tremendous job weathering the COVID-19 storm, but what about the next disaster or crisis that may hit?


The Office of Small Business Opportunity is offering a virtual “Save My Business” crisis preparedness summit on Wednesday, September 8, to provide small businesses with the tools and resources needed to become more sustainable and build capacity. OSBO has put together a great line-up of experts who will discuss crisis proofing, pivoting, succession planning, and more.


To register for this free half-day webinar, click here.



Give Your Input on New Land Development Rules


Richland County is hosting a series of in-person events to help inform residents about newly rewritten land development regulations before the rules are finalized.


The new rules make up the County's revised Land Development Code (LDC), available for public review. Attend any of the informal, drop-in meetings at your convenience to talk directly with Zoning staff about the LDC.


The meeting schedule for the second half of August is:

·    6 p.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18, Decker Center (community room), 2500 Decker Blvd., Columbia

·    11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, County Administration Building (fourth-floor conference room), 2020 Hampton St., Columbia

·    6 p.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, Blythewood Park (gymnasium), 126 Boney Road, Blythewood

·    6 p.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, Crane Creek Park (gymnasium), 7405-B Fairfield Road, Columbia


Find a complete list of upcoming meetings on the County’s website. For more information, see the County's Community Planning & Development page or visit the Zoning office on the first floor of the County Administration Building, 2020 Hampton St., Columbia.



County Seeking Input on Using American Rescue Plan Funds


Now through August 20, Richland County is seeking community input on how it should use its share of $350 billion in emergency federal funding awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The County will receive an estimated $80 million to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 crisis through ARPA, which was signed into law in March by President Joe Biden.


At, residents can find a fact sheet with information on eligible funding options and give feedback through an online survey. Physical copies of the survey are available at the second-floor front entrance of the County Administration Building at 2020 Hampton St., Columbia.


The online survey is available now through Aug. 20. Hard copies must be submitted in person to the County’s Budget and Grants Management Office (Richland County Administration Building, 2020 Hampton Street, Suite 4036) by 5 p.m. on Aug. 20. Residents may also submit public comments, which are also due Aug. 20, by:

·    Email:

·    Fax: 803-576-2138

·    Mail: Richland County Government, Budget and Grants Department, P.O. Box 192, Columbia, SC 29201, Attention: Steven Gaither, Grant Manager




$11.2M in Rental Aid Approved; More Help is Available to Renters

Richland County's Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERAP) has approved more than $11.2 million in aid to residents, or nearly all of the $12.5 million provided through the program by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The program will continue to provide assistance to renters in the County, however.


Through Emergency Rental Assistance 2 (ERA2), a similar federal program, the County will receive another $9.9 million to continue supporting renters.


The application process is identical for ERAP and ERA2. Both programs can provide up to a year of rental and utility assistance, plus another three months if funds are available and the County determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability. ERA2 applicants could qualify for up to 18 months of assistance. 

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