Independence mayor asks for masks in public indoor spaces again

Mike Genet
The Examiner
Independence Mayor Eileen Weir has issued a health order asking the city's population to wear masks in indoor public spaces, including Cable Dahmer Arena, like during the MSHSAA State Wrestling Championships.

Independence Mayor Eileen Weir is encouraging everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to wear masks in indoor public spaces, but the public health order issued Wednesday stopped short of mandating it. 

The city’s health order, which takes effect Thursday, also requires masks in all city facilities, including City Hall, police headquarters, Utilities Center, Sermon Center, Truman Memorial Building, Palmer Center, Uptown Market and Cable Dahmer Arena. 

Exceptions for the city facility mask requirement:  

• Children age 5 and younger. 

• People with disabilities whose health would be substantially impaired by a mask and there is no accommodation available for business to be conducted remotely, curbside or outdoors.  

• People actively eating or drinking while seated in an establishment. 

• Professional athletes in active game play. Masks are required at all other times in gyms and fitness facilities with no exceptions. 

No city facility hours will change. 

Besides the city facility mandate, Wednesday’s health order essentially reiterates the July 9 advisory, in which the mayor encouraged masks indoors, avoiding large groups and crowd-based activities and businesses to require masks for employees and guests when indoors. Businesses are also encouraged to promote vaccinations among their staff. 

In a release, Weir said the city Health Department will expand vaccine clinics around the city to five days a week. 

“We have seen troubling data for our region – with watershed testing nearly doubling for cases of the delta variant and regional hospitals at capacity,” Weir said in the release. “Missouri is a hot zone for COVID-19, and we all need to do what we can to protect one another, particularly those children under 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated.” 

Independence had lifted its mask mandate and social distancing capacity restrictions in mid-May, when case numbers and positive test percentages had dipped significantly and a vaccine had become available for anyone 12-older. The delta variant that soon spread across southwest Missouri has since caused COVID-19 to spike around the state. 

Earlier Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas had reinstated a mask mandate for public indoors places in the city.