KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Jackson County, Missouri, legislature voted on two measures Monday concerning its mask mandate, which has been in place since Aug. 9.
One measure would have ended the mask mandate Monday, Nov. 1, instead of Nov. 7 when it was originally set to expire. The second would extend the mask mandate to Nov. 22.
The mandate was extended several times due to high rates of transmission and low vaccination rates after initially being instituted.
The county representatives voted 5 to 3 in favor of allowing the mandate to last until Nov. 7. They voted 5 to 2 to extend the order until Nov. 22.
Legislators Dan Tarwater III, Theresa Galvin and Janie Lauer sponsored the motion to end the mandate. They cited an 8% transmission rate in an attached pink sheet to the resolution, which they said was lower than the Jackson County Health Department's standard of below 10% to repeal the mandate.
However, Centers from Disease Control and Prevention data shows that the county sill has a high rate of transmission.
Representatives Jalen Anderson, Crystal Williams and Scott Burnett sponsored the motion to extend the mask mandate to Nov. 22.
Legislator Ronald Finley was among those who spoke in favor of the mandate during the meeting.
"As long as people are dying we have to do everything we can to protect public health and limit spread. I think we need to have this in place," he said.
However, protesters against the mandate were present. Galvin spoke to some of their concerns.
"I’m not anti-mask or pro-mask, I’m about self responsibility," she said before recommending the mandate end.
Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. issued a statement following the decision from the legislature in support of the mask extension.
“Over the past several weeks we have made significant progress in reducing the spread of coronavirus by wearing masks. However, we have not yet reached the CDC threshold that would no longer categorize our community as a high or substantial area of virus transmission," White said. "Thanks to the community’s continued sacrifice and resilience, we are very close to where we need to be. But until then, it is important for everyone to keep wearing their masks in public indoor places to provide the most protection for our children, who will soon have the opportunity to get vaccinated."
The mask mandate in Kansas City, Missouri, is set to expire Thursday, Nov. 4.
A spokesperson for Mayor Quinton Lucas said they're still in discussion of what the next steps could look like and whether to extend the order or not. The KCMO City Council is scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon.