KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After months of masking in Kansas City, after midnight on Friday many people can put them away. The City Council approved a new ordinance focused on masking in schools.
Businesses, restaurants, bars, and many more will no longer need to require masks to enter. However, private businesses can enforce their own policy.
The great unmasking of Kansas City comes after an order being in place for the majority of the past year and a half. The first ordinance was put into place in late June of 2020 and was dropped in May of this year. Then in July it was reinstated after a spike in cases.
“As you may know our mask order expires today,” Mayor Quinton Lucas told council chambers.
At Thursday’s council meeting the topic was up for debate, and the new ordinance passed with a vote of 11-2.
Masks will still be required for people in school buildings and on school busses, but that’s it. First District Councilwoman Heather Hall said she doesn’t agree with the ordinance and it’s confusing for children.
“There’s so many cities in the Northland that already are not under the mask mandate that it’s confusing for those children that are in Kansas City, Missouri who are sitting on a school bus with their friend who lives in Liberty, which does happen, and they’re both being told different things and that’s very confusing,” Hall said.
She and Third District Councilman Brandon Ellington voted against it. Ellington felt the idea to extend the ordinance to focus on children went against science. Mayor Lucas said he disagreed and referenced guidance from the KCMO Heath Department.
Chris Riggins, the owner of Brewer’s Kitchen in Midtown, said customers won’t have to mask but his employees will continue to do so for their safety.
“To me, I’m excited that we’re at a place where we’re able to re-evaluate masks and move our country and our city forward, but at the same time, what I really want is to make sure my city is safe and protected,” Riggins said.
Center School District has their own masking policy in place, but says they will follow the city’s guidelines when they re-evaluate. The policy is in line with the city’s new ordinance.
“Our guiding goal has always been Let’s do everything we can to make sure that our students and our staff are able to stay in school as long as possible,” Christina Medina with the district said.
Riggins said while masking may become a thing of the past it’s important to remember the goal all along has been to keep people safe.
“Whether it stays or goes, I just hope we remember we’re all humans trying to get through this pandemic that none of us created. I want to get over it just like I do,” Riggins said.
The new ordinance will stand until December 2. Lucas said they will discuss at that time if the ordinance will be extended or expire altogether.