KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Clay County and Johnson County are all taking steps toward returning to a more normal life with updated health orders addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
The Clay County Health Department announced it updated it’s Public Health Emergency Order. The changes go into effect at 5 p.m. Friday and include:
- Masks no longer required outdoors
- Social distancing indoors no longer required
- No more occupancy limits
The health department said it feels comfortable taking the steps because of the number of people vaccinated and improvements in the number of coronaviruses cases and hospitalizations.
Kansas City, Missouri’s new Emergency Order goes into effect on Friday, April 30 at 12:01 a.m. Mayor Quinton Lucas announced that the mask mandate will remain, but all other indoor restrictions will be rescinded.
Furthermore, people within city limits will not have to wear a mask indoors if everyone is fully vaccinated and has knowledge that others present are as well.
The city’s been under a mask mandate since June 2020.
Restaurants and bars will no longer have to require patrons to sit down. Social distancing rules are not mandatory as long as masks are worn.
“It is important to have at least some level of a mask requirement around, ongoing. I know that other metropolitan counties are considering abolishing a mask requirement altogether. Here in Kansas City, we do not think that it is safe to do so, especially in close, tight, indoor environments, and so we will continue to push that forward.”
The issue is on the April 29 agenda for commissioners to review.
The county health department said it’s not against allowing the mandate to expire, but warns the danger hasn’t ended.
“The Department of Health and Environment will not oppose the move. DHE wants the Board of County Commissioners to be aware that masks are still very important to our COVID-19 response. As a community, we are not close to achieving population immunity yet and people should be ready if and when more stringent actions are needed,” Areola said in a statement.
Commissioners could allow the current order to expire and then shift to “strongly recommending” mask wearing instead of mandating them. That’s an idea the health department said it would also support.
“As long as it is very clear to everyone that we have not achieved heard immunity and that we have a lot of work to do, and that wearing masks continue to be important, we’ll be supportive of
moving to strongly recommend masks,” Areola said. “There’s a lot of variables here that we can’t fully predict. And I think the prudent thing to do is for the board to be ready to take actions if and when they become necessary.”
Wyandotte County’s order on masks and social distancing is expected to remain in effect until June 10.
Any updated ordered would need to be voted on by the Unified Government’s Commissioners. The next meeting of the full commission is scheduled for May 13, 2021.