KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas has reinstated an indoor mask mandate for everyone aged 5 and older, regardless of vaccine status starting Monday, August 2.
The mandate will be effective until at least 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, August 28.
Lucas said it will bring the city into alignment with revised CDC guidelines that recommend – in COVID-19 hotspots – people should be wearing masks indoors whether or not they are vaccinated.
He also flatly said that he does not like masks and he does not like mask mandates. But his concern – talking to local health leaders – is that Kansas City’s vaccination rate is low and the COVID-19 case count is going up.
The order requires masking while indoors at public spaces that cannot maintain social distancing. Lucas said capacity restrictions are not a part of it.
“There has not been guidance that recommends having an event size limit, capacity restrictions, and others. We are not trying to have more mandates or every mandate known to man. What we’re trying to do is responsibly address the crisis where we have an issue,” Lucas said.
“Since COVID-19 first entered our community, Kansas City has followed the guidance issued by our nation’s leading scientific experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and locally by our own Health Department and regional health care leaders,” Lucas said. “With a 15 percent increase in hospitalizations over the past week and a full vaccination rate of just 39 percent in Kansas City, the CDC and our own Health Department have issued recommendations that all persons—regardless of vaccination status—begin masking in all places of indoor public accommodation. As such, Kansas Citians will need to begin masking in all indoor public places on Monday to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and throughout Missouri.”
Lucas continued saying the most effective way to get COVID-19 out of the community is vaccination.
“Vaccinations are the best of all prevention measures,” Kansas City Health Department Deputy Director Frank Thompson said. “As long as transmission continues, variants will continue to develop. We don’t know what the next variant will look like, how virulent it will be, and that should concern everyone. Because less than 50 percent of Kansas City is vaccinated, and transmission is still occurring, Kansas Citians should wear a mask according to CDC guidance. The Kansas City metro area has so many jurisdictions, and few people stay in just one to live, work, and play. No matter where you travel to in the metro, please continue to mask up. This is one important way we can all protect each other.”
Missouri Attorney General said he would sue the city in light of the decision, the same thing he did to St. Louis.
“To the great people of Kansas City: I will be filing a lawsuit to protect your freedoms,” Schmitt wrote on Twitter. “This mask mandate is about politics & control, not science. You are not subjects but citizens of what has been the freest county in the world & I will always fight for you. #NoMaskMandate”
Lucas argues that he is doing everything legally and that this mask mandate is somewhat less strict than the last.
“And I think a mask requirement, indoors at a place of public accommodation – not your private club, not your private home, not your private party – and what’s more, the way that we drafted it if you look at the FAQ’s now – if you can certify that everybody who’s actually in an environment indoors is vaccinated then you also don’t have to wear masks,” Lucas said.
“So that tells you if your office place is handling something or anything of the sort – then you don’t have to worry about it,” Lucas said.
In response, Lucas said he will soon introduce a resolution for City Council support of emergency actions.