SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Until vaccines become available to more Americans, mask mandates are still in place in many cities around the country, but what about locally?
In Springfield, the masking ordinance was passed July 16 last year and is now set to expire on April 9, 2021.
At council lunch this week, Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s Katie Towns discussed case counts since the mandate was passed.
“We now know, without a doubt, that masking has saved lives,” said Towns. “It was the right thing to do. Our first goal will be to return the economy to fully opened, as much as possible. Masking will be one of the strongest tools moving us forward toward this goal. Researchers show that communities covered by a masking order saw cases and deaths slowed as compared to previous disease rates.”
An extension of the masking mandate is expected to be voted on by Springfield City Council on March 22.
In Nixa, residents are required to wear masks but not because of a masking mandate.
Currently is an emergency order and can be rescinded by the city council or myself at any time,” said Nixa Mayor Brian Steele. “We’ve seen a great drop in cases and hospitalizations from Christian County. We’ve been looking at that. Definitely considering when the best time to remove the mask mandate would be.”
Mayor Steele also said with vaccinations underway, finishing strong is the main goal.
“I don’t think anybody likes to wear the mask,” Steele said. “The mask isn’t to protect you. We’re trying to protect our community, trying to protect our friends and neighbors.”
In Branson, a mandate took place July 31 and was indefinitely extended on Oct. 15.
In Marshfield, Mayor Natalie McNish gave input from the Webster County COVID-19 Task Force. This topic is expected to be discussed at the upcoming board of alderman meeting on March 11 and again on March 25.
The mandate is currently set to expire on March 31.
In Ozark, the mandate is set to run until April 30. However, there will be an election before the 30 and decisions will be made after a new mayor gets sworn in the middle of April.
“We’re all looking forward to the day when none of these restrictions are required anywhere, but we need to finish strong to make sure we can defeat this pandemic,” said Steele.