On Oct. 7, Kansas City’s City Council voted to extend the current mask mandate until Nov. 4 with plans to consider modifications as the circumstances of the ongoing pandemic evolve.
The mask mandate was put into place on Aug. 2 by Mayor Quinton Lucas and had originally been scheduled to end on Aug. 28. This mandate requires all people ages five and up to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.
The extension of the mask mandate was originally proposed by Lucas, but required approval by the city council as part of a new Missouri law. The law states that public health orders – like a mask mandate – which last beyond thirty days must be enacted by elected representatives through ordinances.
Prior to the vote on Oct. 6, a public hearing was held for the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee to listen to public opinion on the extension of the mask mandate. Despite some heated public debate, the ordinance passed with a 10-2 vote in favor of extending the mandate.
The decision for an extension of the mask mandate was influenced by updated guidelines on face coverings released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines recommend that COVID-19 hotspots, like Kansas City, should maintain mask requirements for indoor areas where social distancing is unmanageable regardless of ones’ vaccination status. The most recent mandate extension comes after the Kansas City Health Department recommended the mandate be extended.
As the pandemic progresses and infection rates fluctuate, the mask mandate and its specific rules will be reconsidered to fit the needs of public health in Kansas City.