Springfield City Council to Consider Mandatory Masking in Road to Recovery Phase Four

Springfield City Council will be considering an ordinance that will bring a masking requirement to Phase Four of the city’s Road to Recovery Plan.

The current Phase Three order remains in effect until at least July 15.

Council members received information at their weekly council lunch from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department referring to Monday’s largest single-day increase of 35 new cases.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department Assistant Director Katie Towns told Council that they are actively monitoring 395 close contacts in quarantine. The department received 8 new cases as of noon, and they are still investigating the new cases to determine all close contacts and potential public exposures.

Towns told Council they are seeing two main groups in the new infections.

The first is people who “are done with” with COVID-19 and are traveling to areas with high infection rates, then experience symptoms and still go out anyway.

“And I’m not talking about a mild headache,” Towns said. “We are regularly seeing people who feel unwell enough to take their temperature, register above 100 degrees, and still engage in high risk behavior involving close contact.”

The second group is “primarily community spread.” Towns defined those people as those who normally stay home and get infected at grocery stores or at a dinner at a restaurant.

“They are the group impacted because of the activities of the first,” Towns said.

Towns told Council that the Health Department has pulled staff from other duties to keep up with the demand related to COVID-19, and they are asking the Council to approve the hiring of 37 additional staff to assist with their response to the outbreak.

Towns also addressed masking, as the Health Department provided the Council with a memo and white paper with additional COVID-19 related data and masking information.

“As a department, we see the value of masking in keeping those around us safe. We have literally seen, as a result of The Great Clips exposure, the prevention power of masking,” Towns said. “It’s not comfortable. It’s a new habit to form. It’s not our only prevention tool. It’s not perfect. But we are of the opinion that we should be using every tool we have to combat this virus to prevent us from going backwards like other cities across the country are.”

City staff is taking the information received from the health department and is using it to craft a Phase Four ordinance for the City’s Road to Recovery plan. The ordinance will be posted online for citizens to provide feedback before an expected vote on the measure Monday, July 13.

Comments can be submitted online or by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 417-874-2460.

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