KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s mask mandate will be around for at least another month.
The full city council voted Thursday afternoon to extend the mandate through Nov. 4. It applies to the majority of people age 5 and older while indoors.
The extension followed a recommendation from the Kansas City Health Department. The health department credits masking for helping drop Kansas City’s COVID-19 infection rate over the past month.
While it’s dropping, health experts said it’s still not under the high rate of transmission threshold. They hope it will drop below that level if masks are required while indoors for another month.
There is one change in the new health order council passed. It will allow exemptions for religious organizations and parochial schools. That’s based on recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings in New York and California.
Catholic schools in Kansas City allow each parish to decide whether to require masks or not. Some are mirroring the public schools with mask rules. Others are not. Kansas City will allow that religious-based decision making.
The big problem remains that Kansas City continues to have less than half of its population vaccinated, and unvaccinated people continue to clog hospital beds. African-American men under 35 have the lowest vaccination rate in the city. Only one out of four have been vaccinated.
Earlier this week, Jackson County extended its mask wearing requirement until Nov. 6.