KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People who are vaccinated or choose to get vaccinated will have many more freedoms in Kansas City, Missouri beginning Friday.
“We are going back to the type of order that we saw in mid summer of 2020,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas during a news conference Monday.
It’s the 14th edition of the KCMO Emergency COVID-19 Order and Lucas hopes it will be the last.
“We’re coming to a point where there will be no orders at a certain point. In some jurisdictions like Cass County that’s now,” Lucas said. “In other jurisdictions like Kansas City, that may be May 29.”
The new order will begin Friday at 12:01 a.m. and expires May 29. Until then, masks will remain a requirement indoors in places where the public gathers but there are exceptions.
In places where everyone is vaccinated, masks are not required. However, if you are within six feet of someone else and you are not vaccinated, you must still wear a mask.
There are no mask requirements while outside.
Capacity and social distancing requirements on businesses are rescinded. That means people no longer have to be seated in restaurants.
“While there are some who wanted to see a full rescission of the masked man requirement, we believe that because it’s only been a few weeks in Kansas City and in Missouri that folks could actually get vaccines we wanted to make sure that those who were interested still have the opportunity to do so,” Lucas said.
The move has been made based upon vaccination rates in Kansas City with 62% of the population, 65-plus, fully vaccinated and 73% have had at least their first dose. Nearly 24% of the general population in Kansas City is fully vaccinated and a third have begun the vaccination process.
“I am 100% on board,” said Kansas City Health Director Rex Archer.
The health department estimates that a third of the population will refuse vaccination, so its focus is on the middle third that are hesitant or have had difficulty getting the vaccine.
“These are minimum guidelines,” Archer said. “Most people will do a little bit more to protect themselves and others.”
To reach the 70% vaccination goal in Kansas City, the City is relying on businesses to help. It is legal for employers to require employees to be vaccinated. While Lucas said there will be no regulations such as vaccine passports, to ensure as many people as possible are vaccinated, the City is encouraging business to push employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.