FULTON, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Fulton City council voted in favor Tuesday night for a mandatory mask ordinance, which will go into effect next Tuesday.
The ordinance passed in a 6-2 vote, Council members Valerie Sebacher and Rick Shiverdecker dissenting.
According to the ordinance, anyone over the age of eight in Fulton must wear a mask in a public setting, with some exceptions like medical conditions. The ordinance will be in effect for 90 days after next Tuesday unless the council decided to extend or rescind it.
To enforce the ordinance, the city could fine anyone who does not wear a mask when they should up to $100. Businesses face the same punishment but aren’t responsible if someone refuses to wear a mask in their business.
The decision came with some heated debate between council members. Shiverdecker voiced concerns that he believes it's not the council's place to make those decisions.
"None of us have the medical credentials to make this decision," Shiverdecker said. "Our health department in Callaway County won't make this decision and they are the only ones who really have the ability to do this in my opinion."
Councilman Jeff Stone said this is needed as cases are spiking in the area, and hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, saying this was the one tool the council had.
"We are in a region right now where this virus is now out of control these are numbers we haven't seen all year long," Stone said.
Councilwoman Lindsey Pace-Snook agreed with other council members that their recommendation is not working, so she believes it is time for enforcement.
"It's not trying to restrict anyone, it's not trying to take away any freedoms, it's to help protect the health of the people," Pace-Snook said. "I don't want to lose any more lives."
The original ordinance included occupancy restrictions on businesses and other entities. After the debate between members, the council motioned and excluded the occupancy restrictions from Tuesday's ordinance.
Watch the meeting replay in the player below.
The Council previously discussed putting an ordinance in place in July, but ultimately decided to "strongly recommend" citizens wear masks, instead of making them mandatory.
According to the Callaway County Health Department, there have been 2,386 cases of COVID-19 in the county since the pandemic began. As of Tuesday, 645 of those are active, and 12 people have passed away due to the virus.