Mask debate continues after city's decision.

Even after the city voted not to initiate a mask ordinance, some St. Joseph city council members are still somewhat divided on the usage of masks.

Posted: Jul 8, 2020 9:12 PM
Updated: Jul 9, 2020 10:07 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) To mask, or not to mask, that is the question city leaders are somewhat at odds on.

Last week’s decision not to move forward with a citywide mask mandate was supported by most of the city council,  but not all of it.

"I think it's always a good idea to error on the side of caution," Brian Myers, city councilman said.  "I believe that masks are the least inconvenient way to avoid transmission of COVID-19." 

Myers was one of three votes for the ordinance, he said requiring masks could have positive impacts on not just the city’s health, but also on the economy.

"A lot of people would come out in public and spend their money if the council will take this next step and have a mask mandate in public spaces," Myers said. 

Those on the other side of this conversation, however, also cite the economy to justify their position against the ordinance.

City councilman PJ Kovac said the small businesses, restaurants, and bars are just now starting to recover. Kovac said telling people to wear masks while eating and drinking would turn away business.

"You might as well close ‘em up," Kovac said. 

As for the health threat, Kovac said it's simply too low right now to warrant such a response.

"I think we should just let it go get it over with and be done," Kovach added. 

Myers said with Covid-19 cases rising across the country, it’s only a matter of time before cases spike close to home. He stressed the importance of being proactive. 

"That way we’re prepared to deal with it, in case it gets worse here in the state of Missouri." Myers added. 

Last Thursday, the city voted 6-3 not to initiate mask ordnance, the topic is likely to come up again at the next Covid-19 work session scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. 

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Temperatures started out on the mild side with most areas in the upper 40s and lower 50s. Monday was another warm and windy day with temperatures climbing into the lower 70s. With the dry conditions outdoor burning should be avoided Monday and Tuesday as low humidity and gusty winds continue. Winds will stay breezy over the next few days with wind gusts around 20-30 mph. A more active pattern of weather will settle in for most of this week with our first chance of light rain overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. A better chance for more moderate to heavy rain with possibly a few thunderstorms will move into the area Wednesday night into Thursday with a cold front. That front will stall south of our area late in the week, providing several more chances for rain throughout the rest of the week into the weekend. Temperatures will be a bit cooler after the cold front rolls through with highs back in the 50s.
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