Jackson County Legislature votes to end mask mandate immediately

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Members of the Jackson County Legislature voted to end the county’s mask mandate immediately. The vote was 5-4.

Before Friday’s vote, Jackson County Executive Frank White asked legislators to support the county’s health department and allow the mask mandate to continue through at least Nov. 22, as approved earlier this month. White said by making that decision it would give schools and businesses in the county time to plan for the mandate ending.

Legislator Jeanie Lauer pointed out that school districts could make their own rules requiring mask mandates.

Some county leaders at the meeting said they were concerned that if the county’s mandate ended immediately, it would not give school districts enough time to react and implement their own mandates, if they decided to do so.

The Jackson County Health Department said the county and others surrounding it are still considered to have high transmission rates, according to the CDC.

Jackson County is one of three areas in the metro that still require masks. In Kansas, Wyandotte County and Roeland Park still have active mask mandates in place.

Members of the Blue Springs City Council have asked the Jackson Legislature to vote to end the mandate. They want the mandate replaced with a recommendation that strongly encourages mask wearing for those who are not vaccinated or immunocompromised.

“From the beginning of this pandemic the Jackson County Health Department, along with the County Executive, and more recently the County Legislature, has acted with impunity in their oversight of public health policy, and without requesting input from the elected officials in the communities they serve, or consideration of the impact their decisions have on those communities,” the letter from Blue Springs City Council said.

The letter went on to say that when the Jackson County Legislature voted to extend the mask mandate on Nov. 1, it was not done out of necessity or “good faith.”

Members of the Blue Springs City Council, and others, said masks no longer need to be required because COVID-19 cases are declining in eastern Jackson County. They also say the positivity rate in the area is at 8%, which is below the 10% threshold, and COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available for those age 5 and older.

Others, including some medical experts in the metro, say we need to continue to wear masks in public, especially heading into the holidays and colder weather because more people will be inside together for longer amounts of time.

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