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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.

Masks Will Not Be Required In Public Spaces In Ozark

Michele Skalicky

The Ozark Board of Aldermen has voted down a mask ordinance for the city.

During a meeting Monday night, alderman Jason Shaffer questioned the effectiveness of masks.  Shaffer said Dr. Robin Trotman, infectious disease specialist at CoxHealth, didn't convince him of the need for masks when he asked him questions.  Trotman spoke at last week's Ozark Board of Aldermen meeting in support of a mask ordinance.  He told the board that, if cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the region, they’ll run out of Remdesivir and other interventions that can help critically ill patients. 

Shaffer pointed to views of Missouri leaders.

"There is a reason why the governor didn't issue a statewide (mask) mandate," he said.  "There is a reason why the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director, Dr. Randall Williams, doesn't support a mandate, and that's because, according to them, we have 85 counties in the state of Missouri with one death or less--that this disease is not affecting every community the same therefore mandates are not necessary as a universal answer for everyone's problems."

The bill’s sponsor, alderman Nathan Posten, told the board they should have passed a mask ordinance a month ago.

"I am not in a position where I'm going to throw up my hands and say, 'I'm done.  Come and take me,'" he said.  "I'm not doing it.  I'm going to fight for this community.  I'm going to push back against this disease at every turn I can."

He said the public has the right to be reasonably safe in a public space.  And he worries about increases in COVID-19 cases potentially causing schools to shut down, which he said would hurt the economy.

The vote was three to two with one alderman abstaining.  The bill needed four yes votes to pass.

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.