Kansas City mayor suggests return to some COVID-19 health restrictions if conditions continue to decline

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri still is lagging behind other states with just 38% of people fully vaccinated from COVID-19. That percentage is only slightly higher in Kansas City where Mayor Quinton Lucas has suggested the possibility that some COVID-19 restrictions might return.

During a Monday morning radio interview with KMBZ, Lucas said that low vaccination rate is having a negative effect on public health.

During a discussion touching on the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, he shared his thoughts on what could happen if trends continue.

“Perhaps it is the sort of thing where we need to make clear even with larger events that they shouldn’t be taking place unless you can make clear that everybody’s vaccinated,” Lucas said.

“You know, when the CDC came out with its updated guidance that was a huge part of my concern with kind of their honor system which I think has done a disservice to at least a lot of us in the Midwest and the American South where people all of sudden just say ‘Well hey! We’re wide open. No need to even worry about getting vaccinated.’ And we lost that ability to push it,” Lucas said.

Lucas went on to say he isn’t thinking about heightened restrictions necessarily but does think that certain areas of capacity restriction and, or having mask requirements back in large capacity areas might be helpful in the long-term.

But new state law recently signed by Gov. Mike Parson somewhat restricts long-term planning.

According to HB 271, during a declared statewide emergency, a local order that directly or indirectly closes or restricts businesses, churches and schools “shall not remain in effect for longer than 30 calendar days and shall automatically expire at the end of the thirty days unless so authorized by a simple majority vote of the political subdivision’s governing body to extend such order or approve a similar order.”

That means the city council would have to vote to keep it going, if a new health order were put into effect in Kansas City.

When the statewide emergency declaration ends in Missouri, new health orders can only last for 21 days and would have to get re-approved by a two-thirds vote of the city council, according to HB 271.

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