Mayor Quinton Lucas announced on Friday, July 10, that the mask mandate in Kansas City, Missouri, introduced on June 29, would be extended indefinitely in consistency with the city’s State of Emergency Order.
Currently, the State of Emergency Order due to COVID-19 is set to expire on August 15.
“If that order expires on August 15, that will be the end of our mask order,” Lucas said. “If it does not, then the mask will stay for some amount of time.”
Masks and face coverings are required indoors and in any place where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Although it is highly encouraged that everyone wear masks, those with medical conditions like asthma or respiratory conditions may have exceptions.
Among the new extension of the mask mandate, bars and other similar facilities will be kept at a 50% capacity due to the growing number of outbreaks in these facilities.
At this time, bars are not expected to be shut down. If data shows that spikes are related and can be traced to bars particularly, closing down bars is something that would be evaluated.
“I will say this and I said before, it is my preference for us to not have to shut down parts of the economy again at a point, however, should it become necessary, we’ll do all that is necessary,” Lucas said.
The number one way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and bring the outbreak under control is wearing masks, Dr. Rex Archer, Director of Health for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, said.
“If we can get 95% or better of our residents doing that on a regular basis, then we can bring it under enough control with disease outbreak investigation and contact tracing to put out the small fires,” Dr. Archer said.
City officials’ goal is to increase the number of residents wearing masks to slow community outbreaks which in turn would avoid full school system closures.
Cohorting students into different groups for all activities is one of the strategies that students may see in school to help contain an outbreak within the same group to avoid further spread.
“We’re going to have to experiment and learn forward but I guarantee, none of these things will be successful if we don’t continue to make the progress we’re making on getting adults to wear masks,” Dr. Archer said.