Springfield-Greene County Health Department director, Clay Goddard, told Springfield City Council at their meeting Monday night that he met with a city attorney that day to look at best practices in masking ordinances. Public health staff are also compiling data, according to Goddard. And they’re looking at ordinances that require masking in other cities. Goddard said he also plans to meet this week with local infectious disease physicians to get their opinion on what is needed.
"In public health we are always advocating for evidence-based decision making," said Goddard. "And, so, one of the main topics during this discussion will be on metrics and what might be a trigger for the enactment of an ordinance."
Having an ordinance for council to consider could be "fairly quick," according to Goddard.
Hosmer told Goddard an ordinance needs to be ready for council to vote on as soon as possible. He asked him, "from a public health standpoint, do we have legal authority to require masking?"
"That's my understanding," Goddard replied, "and I'll tell you this: The virus doesn't really care about those factors. It's just looking for vulnerabilities."
Councilman Matthew Simpson pointed out that, while the rate of COVID-19 in Greene County is low, the city should continue taking proactive steps to prevent a spike in cases.
Council Andrew Lear told Goddard he’d strongly consider voting for a masking ordinance.
"We've already asked the citizens of Springfield to make great sacrifice. You know, employees have lost wages, lost jobs, potentially lost homes and businesses and so I believe that anything and everything that we can do to prevent that or at least slow that down and keep it from recurring that's within our power we should do," said Lear.
While cloth face masks aren’t perfect, Goddard said, they can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. And other measures need to be taken, too, according to Goddard, including social distancing and hand washing.
Councilwoman Jan Fisk said colleges and universities will be opening before long with students coming from all over the United States and the world. She said they need to consider a masking ordinance quickly "so we can get the word out to those families that will be sending their kids here."
View the Monday, June 29, council meeting here.