COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Boone County residents gathering for meals on Thanksgiving will be under a new mask order.
The order went into effect overnight after the Boone County Commission gave the health department the go-ahead with a 2-1 vote. The updated health order requires anyone over age 10 to wear a mask when social distancing isn't possible and when around people who don't live with them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials are encouraging people to find alternative methods for family Thanksgiving gatherings this year such as Zoom, FaceTime or other virtual outlets. Health experts say those who are gathering in person should follow social distance and mask guidelines.
According to the health orders for Columbia and Boone County, masks are not required if family members of the same household are together but are needed if family members or guests of different households join together.
There were some social media-fueled rumors of law enforcement going out tomorrow to issue citations to any households not following the new health department order. After speaking with Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department's Assistant Director, Scott Clardy, he said it was simply not true. Clardy explained, “I’m not aware of any plans to have the Sherriff’s department come out and break up parties as they occur most likely in the enforcement that would occur after the fact and somebody would be fined or something like that”
Clardy said the new face mask order should not affect the recommendations that the health department has already provided for holiday gatherings tomorrow.
“Really the mask mandate, it doesn’t impact our recommendations regarding gatherings tomorrow at all. We don’t recommend gathering except for people who are in your household those are people you should gather with. If you are gonna gather with other people we recommend that you not travel from one place, you don’t travel long distances or anything like that. Again if you’re going to gather with them wear masks while you’re not eating try to stay 6 feet away from people who are not in your household. We would recommend that people of the same household sit in groups instead of everybody sitting together. Those kinds of things are things that we would recommend.”
Though it is not recommended for families to gather outside of their household, some citizens may still have large gatherings. COVID testing sites will be closed tomorrow.
In the event that someone feels they may have come in contact with the virus over the holiday, Clardy provided instructions. Clardy said if someone is experiencing symptoms of the virus they should get tested right away. Clardy explained if someone is not symptomatic but feels they may have come in contact with the virus they should wait for 7 to 9 days after contact before getting tested.
Clardy explained, "Unless they become symptomatic they should get tested right away. Otherwise, if they're concerned, they should wait until 7 to 9 days have passed since their last contact with other people before they get tested. If you get tested too soon you may get a false negative because maybe not enough virus has multiplied in your body to the point that the test can pick it up so that’s why we recommend waiting 7 to 9 days if you are not symptomatic, if you become symptomatic get tested right away.”
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