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KSMU is dedicated to broadcasting critically important information as our community experiences the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, you'll find our ongoing coverage.

Branson Board Of Aldermen Postpones Face Mask Ordinance Vote To July 28

City of Branson

The Branson Board of Aldermen has postponed a vote on an ordinance to mandate face coverings in the city.  That decision was unanimous after more than eight hours of public comment and discussion at a meeting Thursday.  Alderman Kevin McConnell wasn’t present.   

Dr. Shawn Usery, a physician at CoxHealth in Branson, told the board there were 30 patients Thursday morning in their COVID Critical Care Unit--up five from the night before.  He said the Branson hospital had only three doses of a drug used to treat COVID-19, Remdesivir, and only 11 doses system wide.  And another treatment for the illness might not be available for those that need it.

"Convalescent plasma.  You've also heard a lot about that.  The cases are growing at a rate faster than people are recovering, so the people who need the plasma are growing at a rate faster  than the people are recovering to donate the plasma," said Usery.

Branson resident, Brian Seitz, told the board they would be making a "gregious mistake" if they approved the ordinance, which he said "will effectively cripple the economy, restrict individual liberties and freedoms and issue an unjust government mandate that will make criminals out of individuals and businesses that refuse to comply.  This cannot happen."  Seitz asked board members to remember "that Branson stands for God, country, family and freedom," to which the crowd in the room responded with loud applause.

Audrey Richards, who grew up in Branson, supports the mask mandate.  She said, "we are in the middle of a pandemic that's getting worse, not better, and this ordinance is a safeguard against it getting worse."

The board will take up the ordinance again on Tuesday, July 28, at 2 p.m. in council chambers.

Around 100 people attended the meeting, and there were 39 members of the public who shared their views on the ordinance.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.