Jackson County leaders vote to extend mask mandate

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County Legislators voted to extend the county’s mask mandate another three weeks. It means masks will continue to be required through Nov. 22.

The extension came after an effort by Jackson County legislators Dan Tarwater, Theresa Galvin and Janie Lauer to end the mask mandate immediately failed on a 5-3 vote.

“I think I think it’s just self responsibility,” Galvin said before the vote. “I think we need to put this back into the hands of businesses. Let them decide if they want to require masks in businesses and then let us decide if we want to go in.”

“I think as long as there are people dying we have to do everything we can to protect the public health and to try to limit the further spread of this fatal disease,” said Jackson County Legislator Ronald Finley.

Members of the county legislature ultimately decided the mask mandate needed to be extended because according to a presentation from the Jackson County Health Department last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Jackson County, still considers the county to be in an area with high community transmission.

“Over the past several weeks we have made significant progress in reducing the spread of coronavirus by wearing masks. However, we have not yet reached the CDC threshold that would no longer categorize our community as a high or substantial area of virus transmission,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White in a statement after the vote to extend the mandate. “Thanks to the community’s continued sacrifice and resilience, we are very close to where we need to be. But until then, it is important for everyone to keep wearing their masks in public indoor places to provide the most protection for our children, who will soon have the opportunity to get vaccinated.”

The decision only impacts areas of Jackson County outside of the Kansas City, Missouri, city limits. Independence is also excluded since it has its own health department and doesn’t have a mask mandate in place.

Members of Kansas City, Missouri’s city council voted last this month to extend its mask mandate until at least Nov. 4. They will decide whether to extend that requirement this week.

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