MARYVILLE, Mo. — In a standing-room-only meeting Wednesday morning that was at times confrontational, the Maryville City Council voted unanimously to implement an emergency face covering ordinance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The ordinance will require face coverings for all people 10 and older while inside public facilities, businesses that are open to the public, public transportation vehicles and outside when social distancing is not possible in groups of 10 or more unless the people are members of the same family or household.
Dozens of community members attended the meeting and voiced their opposition to the measure, and council members said they they were contacted by several hundred Maryville residents last night both in support of and against the face covering requirement.
Ultimately, council members cited the recommendation of Northwest Missouri State University, the Nodaway County Health Department and Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville as the reason for their unanimous support.
“I’m going to vote for the ordinance because I’m listening to the experts,” said City Council member Tye Parsons during the meeting.
This month, Nodaway County has seen a sharp increase in positive cases. At the beginning of the month, only 24 people had tested positive. As of Wednesday morning, that number had risen to 68.
City Manager Greg McDanel referred the figure and said that the medical community agrees masks are the best way to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Children ages 3 to 10 are strongly encouraged, but not required, to wear a face covering, while under direct supervision of an adult.
There are a number of exceptions:
- Persons who fall into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental disability, or are otherwise covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Persons who have trouble breathing, or are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
- Persons who are at a place of public accommodation who are consuming food or drink, though such persons must wear a face covering while in waiting areas and while walking to and from seating or other parts of the premises.
- Persons engaging in organized group or team sports, exercise or other physical activities where it is not practical or feasible to wear a mask or socially distance.
- Persons who are obtaining dental care, medical treatment or other service involving the face or nose for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
- Persons working in settings which might increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.
- Persons who are outdoors while maintaining physical distancing of at least six feet, and persons who are outdoors who are closer than six feet to solely members of their own household.
A face covering must cover the nostrils and mouth, and can be fashioned from scarves, bandanas or other suitable fabrics. Medical grade masks are not required.
All public facilities and businesses that are open to the public are required to post a sign at all entrances that face coverings or masks are required to be worn inside the facility or business.
The protocol also includes schools, with all students fifth grade or older required to wear a mask unless exempted for another reason.
Although the ordinance takes effect immediately, citations for not complying with the ordinance do not begin until July 27.
Before issuing citations, any individual, business or other entity will be notified of the provisions of the ordinance first, followed by a warning. A citation for not wearing a mask will be punishable by a fine of no more than $100. A citation for business owners or others who control a place at which the ordinance requires visitors to wear face coverings is punishable by a fine of up to $250 for each day the person is in violation.
Business owners who fail to uphold the ordinance also face the possible suspension or revocation of any permit or license issued for the premises on which the violation occurred.
The ordinance will remain in effect until Sept. 30, although the council may rescind or extend the ordinance at any time.