KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas has not yet said whether or not he’ll reinstate a mask mandate due to the COVID-19 delta variant. However, he is in “regular communication” with local health leaders and St. Louis officials, who will renew their mandate beginning Monday.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been proud of Kansas City’s decisive leadership — which saved lives — and Kansas City government will continue to act in the best interest of the health and safety of our community,” Lucas said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Lucas said he will “continue to collaborate” with health leaders but reiterated the “best way to save lives” and defeat the COVID-19 pandemic is through vaccinations.
“While masks are not currently mandatory in Kansas City, we continue to encourage Kansas Citians to wear masks in large indoor settings, or if you are in close proximity to an unvaccinated person,” Lucas said. “Kansas City, please — please — take the vaccine if you have not yet.”
A spokesperson for the Clay County Public Health Center said they do not have any updates to COVID-19 guidance. Platte County, according to a spokesperson for the county's health department, similarly said there are no plans to reinstate a mask mandate. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County also does not plan to issue a mandate.
Cass County has never initiated such a mandate.
Dr. Sanmi Areola said, in a statement provided to KSHB 41 News by a spokesperson, that the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment "is not currently considering reinstating the mask mandate."
"Cases are increasing rapidly, driven largely by the delta variant," Areola said in the statement. "Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is concerned about this. JCDHE will continue to update our residents and elected officials. Our goal is to continue to make decisions that protect our residents using the options that are feasible and effective."
Some metro school districts already have taken their stances on masking in the classroom as others continue to hold discussions. There's mixed guidance among districts.
Parents in the Kansas City area said they hope city and health officials reconsider their decision to not re-enforce a mask mandate.
"The numbers change every day," said Ryan Wiksell, a father with children under 12, who are ineligible to be vaccinated. "They change every week and we need to be flexible and prepared to keep everyone safe depending on what happens with the numbers."
Lisa Marie Sauciuc, a mother with a son under 12 years old who has asthma, said much the same.
"So I'm extra careful in trying to keep him protected, and not having a mask mandate means we are really limited in a lot of activity our children can do," she said.
Kansas City-area health leaders have sounded the alarm on the delta variant for the past month, stating there’s concern that the uptick in COVID-19 cases happening in Greene County could also occur in the metro.
KSHB 41 News' COVID-19 data, most recently compiled at the beginning of July, showed a 56% increase in Missouri's virus cases in June.