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Joplin to once again discuss face mask mandate

The city of Joplin will once again discuss mandating a face mask within city limits in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. That meeting will happen Wednesday night at 6 at City Hall. Just two weeks ago, an ordinance requiring masks was voted down 5-4.

“I think there’s a tangible group of our citizenry that will not wear a mask no matter what we say. But I think there might be 30% of our population that would wear one if we just say it’s required,” said Mayor Ryan Stanley, who adds that his main issue with the ordinance is how it should be enforced.

“I don’t think any of us that voted against the mask situation thought that it wasn’t wisdom to wear a mask. My main concern was mandating and telling somebody else what to do,” said Councilman Gary Shaw. “God gave us all brains and we ought to use them.”

“I propose we model ourselves on Fayetteville’s ordinance which was business based, where it’d be unfortunately more up to the business to enforce it when you go into their establishment. Which we’ve had great success at with ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service’,” said Councilman Anthony Monteleone. “Fayetteville had the backing of the business community to make that happen, that worked for them. Whether or not that’s the right thing for our community–that’s something we should discuss further with the chamber and with our area businesses.”

“If the other council members are in favor of a business-based versus a personal-based [ordinance], then I am in favor of that,” said councilman Charles Copple.

The council Monday night voted unanimously to keep the city in Step two of Phase two of the city’s reopening plan, which means businesses must keep their capacity to 50% or less of their building’s fire code. It also requires service industry workers to wear a mask if they cannot maintain social distancing.

The city also voted to spend $64,500 for masks that citizens can wear. That equates to about 50,000 reusable cotton masks. Council members hope this will be covered by money from the federal government’s CARES Act.

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