Joplin city council ends mask mandate

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JOPLIN, Mo. (KSN) –The Joplin city council passed to end the city mask mandate Monday night, Aug. 17, 2020, at their biweekly city council meeting. The meeting commenced at 6 p.m., closing at 11 p.m., and featured 22 city people who spoked out about the mandate.

“I think it’s going to affect some people in our community in a negative way where they felt safe to go to the store and now they might not, and that really saddens me, that really breaks my heart, I know people on the council are concerned about that,” said Councilman Mayor Stanley. “At the same time, though, I do feel that for a lot in our community we had adoption just from people being good citizens who wanted to have a choice of when they needed to wear one and when they didn’t necessarily need to wear one, and so I do like the idea of giving people the ability to choose and make their own decisions.

“So it’s a positive and a negative at the same time, but we knew that was going to be the case because of how conflicting and contentions this issue has been.”

In new business, Joplin citizens stepped forward to express their views for and against the mask mandate and whether or not it should be extended or ended. Councilman Gary Shaw motioned to drop the mask mandate and strongly encourage the use of masks in public, Councilman Doug Lawson seconded. The vote passed with five in favor and four opposed. The mask mandate will be lifted at midnight Tuesday, Aug. 18. Councilman Lawson then motioned to move from step two to step four of the reopening plan, which was seconded by Councilman Shaw. The vote passed with eight in favor and one opposed. Step four will include reopening the community further, limiting mass gatherings, occupancy limits removed on most public spaces, but still with social distancing restrictions in place.

New business also included discussion of a reopening plan with the primary address on education and school sports. The council voted to allow schools to develop their own reopening places in coherence with the health department, which passed with nine in favor.

Under public hearings, the council also discussed the fiscal year 2021 proposed budget. In addition to budget discussion, a public hearing will take place August 24 to adopt an ordinance to set tax rates, a city council work session to present custom market study results will take place September 14, city council budget work sessions to cover a budget overview and issues & options will take place September 22-24, and the fiscal year 2021 budget adoption will take place October 19.

To start off the meeting, in following the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, Council Member Diane Reid Adams received the proclamation of August 26, 2020, as the Centennial of the 19th Amendment Ratification Day.

In the emergency section of ordinances, seven council bills passed on an emergency basis with nine in favor of each. In the reading section of ordinances, two council bills passed with nine in favor of each. There were no second or third readings of ordinances and no new business to discuss. Also included in new business was the discussion to allow a cruise night, which passed with nine in favor. It was then passed to allow cruise night with a fee of $150 to hold the event.

Ending new business, Lynn Onstot discussed closed roads in Joplin, announced public meeting for the Ewert pool study August 20 and a meeting for Memorial Hall study August 27. The council closed the meeting by voting to go into a closed session, passing with nine in favor.

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