Kansas City committee votes to extend indoor mask mandate; full council votes Thursday

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After listening to multiple hours of lively public testimony, a Kansas City Council committee voted unanimously Wednesday night to extend the city’s indoor mask mandate to Sept. 23.

As soon as the committee made the vote, the crowd, who grew more agitated throughout the meeting, erupted with shouting.

The decision to extend the indoor mask mandate will now go to a full city council vote at 3 p.m. Thursday.

The current mandate, which Mayor Quinton Lucas put into effect Aug. 2, was set to expire Aug. 28. It came after revised CDC guidelines recommended, in COVID-19 hotspots like Kansas City, that people should be wearing masks indoors — whether or not they are vaccinated.

The order requires masking while indoors at public spaces that cannot maintain social distancing. Lucas has said capacity restrictions are not a part of it.

Health experts have stressed that face masks are perfectly safe and the most effective way to prevent the rapid transmission of COVID-19.

Before Wednesday’s committee meeting, dozens against the mask order held a rally outside the Kansas City Police Academy before the special meeting.

“The city doesn’t pay for my medical problems like my health care,” protester Jessica Bran said. “I should be able to take care of myself.”

“The health choices I make might not be able to be the health choices people make, but I think it’s important that we maintain the ability to make those choices,” Bonnie Gembrin said.

Many of them said extending the mandate takes away their medical freedom. Protesters said if the mandate is extended, the city is showing it doesn’t value their opinions.

Following the vote Wednesday night, Lucas tweeted “Thank you to our public health officials and medical experts who continue to look out for our community’s safety. I am glad that the committee unanimously supported their recommendations and our ordinance in the best interest of Kansas City’s health.”

This is a developing story. FOX4 will update this story and provide live coverage on FOX4 News at 9 and 10 p.m.

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