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The lawsuit alleges the masking ordinance is harming the tourism city's economy.
SBJ file photo
The lawsuit alleges the masking ordinance is harming the tourism city's economy.

Lawsuit targets Branson's masking mandate

Posted online

Two Branson business owners are suing the city over the masking ordinance that took effect last month.

Represented by attorney Kristi Fulnecky, defendants Jamie Hall and Bo Dejager allege the mandate causes harm to the tourist city's economy and infringes on individuals' right to privacy, according to a news release. Hall owns Branson Etched Mugs, and Dejager owns Foam Bros., an insulation contractor.

"In May, local officials estimated tourism dollars to decrease by half just from the pandemic. The mask ordinance is increasing that downward trend," Fulnecky said in the release. "Tourism is vital to this area and the mask ordinance is directly affecting the bottom line of my clients’ businesses and hindering their livelihood."

The ordinance, which took effect July 31, requires face coverings to be worn in public places in Branson, with violators facing a fine and potential revocation of a business license and other permits. The Branson Board of Aldermen approved the measure July 28 after two meetings and roughly 10 hours of public debate and discussions. Aldermen called for order multiple times in the most recent livestreamed meeting in response to opposition from residents upset with the mandate.

The suit names Branson Mayor Edd Akers and Aldermen Bob Simmons, Bill Skains and Jamie Whiteis, according to the release. Aldermen Larry Milton, who voted against the ordinance, and Kevin McConnell, who was absent, are not named in the litigation. The release indicates the suit has been filed in Taney County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit is the third related to the COVID-19 pandemic represented by Fulnecky announced in the last two weeks.

Fulnecky is serving as the attorney representing the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city of Springfield's masking ordinance, as well as the plaintiffs in litigation seeking to undo Springfield Public Schools' reopening plan.

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shelia wright

my husband and I were in Branson today for my doctor appt. the clinic was very busy and everyone was walking in with a mask on. after my appt,, we went to lunch in bransin. the cafe we went to was very busy. as people came in, they all had on masks. as people left the cafe, they all put on their masks. all the employees had on their masks. no where we went was short on customers, this sounds like another baseless law suit.

Thursday, August 6
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