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Last edited 2:57 p.m., July 7, 2020
During his community health update to City Council last night, Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard said he’s working on a face mask ordinance to present to the governing body.
Goddard said the Health Department has been inundated with feedback of masking requirements in Springfield, both for and against a mandate.
“People are tired of COVID-19. We want our normal lives back,” he said. “The only problem is, and I can assure you this, the virus is not done with us.”
At last night’s meeting, Goddard said he met yesterday with City Attorney Rhonda Lewsader to begin work on the recommendations.
“We started to work through some things we think would be best practices to craft into that type of approach,” he said. “I think that there are some lessons learned from our Smoke-Free Indoor Air Act that are applicable and worked very well in that situation.”
Goddard said he’s also planning to meet with infectious disease doctors in the community later this week to discuss their views on what is needed based on community coronavirus data.
The Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard shows 291 confirmed cases as of this morning. That’s up from 197 cases on June 1 and 73 cases in March, when data collection began, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Health Department officials have said Greene County is experiencing community spread.
Community spread marks incidences in which the source of the infection is unknown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We should probably be using every tool we have to combat the virus, but like many things… it’s not cut and dry,” Goddard said. “Crafting an effective ordinance is complicated.”
Several council members expressed support for a face mask mandate.
“We’ve already asked the citizens of Springfield to make great sacrifice,” said Councilperson Andrew Lear. “I believe anything and everything we can do to prevent that and slow that down … and is within our power, we should do.”
A face mask mandate went into effect yesterday in Kansas City. A similar edict is slated to become effective July 1 in Jackson County, according to reporting by the Kansas City Star.
Similarly, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly ordered that beginning July 3, the state’s residents will be required to wear face masks in public spaces.
SBJ.net’s current weekly poll asks, “Should face masks be required at public places in Springfield?” As of 11 a.m., 77% of the 3,361 respondents voted in favor of the question. The poll runs through July 2. [Editor's note: The final poll, published in the July 6 digital edition, had 11,497 votes with 54% in opposition.]
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I think this is a personal decision. I do not agree with this. Cases are going up due to more testing, but deaths are going down. I do not think it is fair to make law abiding citizens wear masks because law breaking citizens have been looting and rioting and not wearing masks.