‘This helps us stay open’: Kansas City marks first day of mask requirement

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Monday marked the first day that everyone was required to wear a mask in Kansas City if they were inside a public building. 

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and other leaders said it’s a necessary precaution to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

“This helps us stay open. This helps us stay safe. I hope people acknowledge that,” Lucas said. “That’s why we have this rule. It’s not to be punitive, it’s not to hurt anybody and it’s not to restrict anyone’s freedom.”

At the Kansas City Zoo, this rule goes for anyone inside a building, on a tram or too close to someone else at an exhibit.

“We’ve had pretty good feedback. Really no problems this morning with people arriving and following our directions,” Kansas City Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff said. 

Before Monday, the zoo was already following COVID-19 guidelines. It included limiting the number of guests and making sure everyone had room to social distance. 

As people adjust to the new rules, the zoo is giving friendly reminders. 

“We’ve got some fun ways to do it, talking about the length of a llama, the length of an elephant trunk,” Wisthoff said.

A similar effort is underway at the Mid-Continent Library System. Geri Haile, a branch manager at the Blue Ridge location, said along with face coverings, libraries are taking precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

“After someone uses a copier or a printer, we’re cleaning that work station. We are also cleaning any high-touch areas that we see that people have used. Door handles, door knobs, anywhere people are touching a lot,” Haile said. 

As for Kansas City’s face mask mandate, there are some exceptions. 

  • Minors, though the CDC and the Kansas City Health Department urge children over the age of 2 to wear a mask.
  • People who have disabilities that prevent them from comfortably wearing or taking off face coverings or communicating while wearing one.
  • People who have respiratory conditions or breathing trouble.
  • People who have been told by a medical, legal or behavioral health professional not to wear face coverings.
  • People who are seated in a restaurant or tavern while actively engaged in eating or drinking — and are socially distanced from others.

The order will continue through at least July 12.

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