Masks Are Now Required In Springfield Through January 9

Oct 6, 2020

Face Mask
Credit Michele Skalicky

Springfield’s face covering requirement is now in place through January 9th.  Springfield City Council voted to extend the mandate for anyone over age 11 at its meeting Monday night.  There are some exemptions to the rule.  City Council initially approved a mask ordinance in July.

People spoke for and against the new ordinance at Monday night's meeting.  Missouri State University president, Clif Smart, said masking is working on his campus.

"We have over 20,000 students taking seated classes on our campus," he said.  "We have over 3500 employees working everyday on our campus, and what we have seen, after students figured this out, we've seen a high in week two of 383 cases reduced into week seven last week to 50."

Ozarks Technical Community College chancellor, Dr. Hal Higdon, pointed to a city to the west of Springfield as a reason he felt the mask mandate should be extended.

"I want to thank the council and the mayor for being brave, for being steadfast and for not being Joplin" he said, "because we watched Joplin put this in place and get rid of it, and we've seen the consequences in Joplin."

But Springfield resident, Lisa Meeks, chastised council members for not listening to the desires of the citizens.

"You're not elected to tell us what to do even if it's for our own good," she said.  "You're supposed to be our voice not the voice of the colleges."

The new ordinance also raises the capacity of special events on public property from 25 percent to 50 percent of the occupancy limit of the space, based on the square footage of the area.  Providers of special events must comply with the face covering requirements of the ordinance.

As of Monday morning, Greene County had 7,549 cases of COVID-19 to date, and 2,988 of those were active.  Eighty-nine county residents have died of the illness.  The latest deaths were two nursing home residents:  a woman in her 80s and a man in his 90s.

View the county's COVID-19 Dashboard here