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Kansas City Mayor Lucas Reinstitutes Indoor Mask Requirement As COVID Cases Surge

outdoor face masks.jfif
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR
The face mask requirement applies to public accommodations and is slated to end on Aug. 28.

Mayor Quinton Lucas said Wednesday that starting Aug. 2, people ages 5 and older need to wear masks indoors in public accommodations even if they've been vaccinated

Kansas City is joining St. Louis in going back to an indoor mask mandate as coronavirus cases in the area surge.

Mayor Quinton Lucas announced Wednesday that people age 5 and older will need to wear masks indoors in public venues, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated.

The emergency order takes effect Aug. 2 and is slated to end Aug. 28.

Lucas said getting a COVID-19 vaccine is still the best way to stop the spread of the disease.

“We will continue our efforts to reach all Kansas Citians in all neighborhoods about the importance of taking the vaccine,” Lucas said in a news release.

Lucas’ announcement came after the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday and recommended that people wear masks indoors in areas of the country with high coronavirus transmission rates.

Lucas has followed the agency’s guidance throughout the pandemic. In May, he ended an earlier mask mandate after the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places.

Just 40% of Jackson County residents have been fully vaccinated. The seven-day average of positive cases in Kansas City has climbed from 42 on July 1 to 184 on July 27, according to the New York Times.

St. Louis City and St. Louis County announced their own mask mandates Monday, which Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt immediately challenged in court. Schmitt tweeted that he intends to challenge the Kansas City mask order as well.

The St. Louis County Council voted Tuesday to end the mask order, but St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the county’s mandate remains in effect because it doesn’t require council approval, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Lucas said he plans to introduce a resolution seeking City Council support of his order.

“I thank all Kansas Citians, our businesses, and our schools for understanding the reinstatement of the mask requirement is a necessary and immediate step we must take to protect our community,” Lucas said in the news release.

The Kansas City Health Department offers COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the health department’s headquarters each Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.

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