COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia Mayor Brian Treece hopes masks slow the quickening rate of new COVID-19 cases in Columbia.
Treece met with reporters on Thursday after releasing details of a citywide mask ordinance the day before. The ordinance requires all citizens older than 10 to wear a face mask in public or be fined.
Watch the full briefing with the mayor in the player below.
Treece said last week he supported the idea of a mask ordinance. The Columbia/Boone County health department drafted the order, Columbia council members will vote on it at their Monday meeting.
The county's number of COVID-19 infections has doubled since the start of June. Treece pointed out the shorter amount of days it's taken the county to add 100 cases to its total. The first 100 cases took the county 55 days to confirm, while the jump from 300 to 400 has taken nine days.
Treece said that the county added 14 new COVID-19 infections overnight, bringing the total to 404 since mid-March. He sees masks as a possible way to slow that rate without having the health department impose occupancy limits and crowd restrictions again.
"This is only for a 90-day window to see if we can slow the trends we are seeing as we continue to safe and slow recovery here in Columbia," Treece said.
Fifth Ward councilman Matt Pitzer said he was unsure on Thursday whether or not he'd support the ordinance. Pitzer said he supports people wearing masks in public, and urged people to do so, but said he had some issues with the ordinance as currently written.
"It's something that's deeply personal to a lot of people," Pitzer said of the issue. "And there are going to be a lot of people not comfortable with a mandate. And that's the reality of it. You've got to weigh that, though, with the public health benefits of having a mandate. And that's kind of the balance that I'm trying to work through as I hear from a lot of constituents and interested parties over the last several days. and i'm sure there will be a lot more conversations between now and Monday night."
Pitzer said he was uncomfortable having any rules regarding mask usage within a home. The proposed ordinance requires people wear one if people "who are not household members" are there. Pitzer also thought 90-day duration was too long for the order to stay in effect.
"I'm not necessarily comfortable legislating that far out at this point when we just learn so much and the situation with this virus changes so much on a day to day basis," Pitzer said.
At least six of the seven council members must vote for the ordinance for it to become effective under emergency rules in the city charter.