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Columbia businesses and residents split on masks as coronavirus cases surge again


The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services urged both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks as protection against coronavirus Wednesday in a public health advisory.

The department fell short of crafting new orders to force virus mitigation measures. In addition to masks, the department is also recommending practices such as frequent hand washing and social distancing around unvaccinated individuals.

Some Columbia residents say this is a welcome development. Kelley Evans said she has continued to wear a mask throughout the pandemic.

Evans works at Wal-Mart and has asthma. She said she has also lost multiple family members to COVID-19 and wanted to remind other Columbia residents that the pandemic has not ended.

But Jack Lewis believes a new mask mandate would be a tough sell to many of those in the city that have enjoyed not wearing a mask. Columbia and Boone County allowed their mask mandates and other health orders to expire this spring after being in place for several months.

Lewis said he would worry about the ramifications this could have on the economy if more businesses decided to require masks.

The health department's guidance came after Boone County logged more than 100 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday -- the first time the county has seen triple-digit cases in one day since the winter surge. The number of COVID-19 patients in Boone County hospitals also jumped 40% between Friday and Tuesday, going from 50 to 70.

Most of those patients are from outside Boone County, with the state has a whole among the leaders in new coronavirus cases. The more contagious delta variant now makes up more than 73% of new cases in Missouri, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Constance Parker, owner of Green Meadows Hair Salon, has kept mask requirements for customers throughout the pandemic and says for her, it was a no-brainer. Parker said mask requirements were kept in place specifically due to the type of industry her employees work in, which leaves them unable to socially distance from customers while doing their hair.

Customers have had varying reactions to the continued mask mandate at Green Meadows. However, many are appreciative of the extra efforts taken.

Moving forward, Parker said she thinks whether masks should be required depends on what service a business provides.

Boone / Columbia / Local News / News / Top Stories / Video
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Ben Fein

Ben Fein is a multimedia journalist for ABC 17 News. You can usually see his reports on weekend mornings or weekdays at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. on KMIZ.



  1. A few years before COVID, the CDC did some in depth research on the effectiveness of masks in preventing transmission of Influenza, and found the effect to be insignificant. Somehow, without any further research, the CDC decided they are effective. Which is one of many demonstrations that whomever or whatever the CDC is working for, it isn’t your health. Masks aren’t mandated to protect our health, they are mandated to symbolize obedience. It worked quite well. When the barely tested at all vaccines came out, people lined up for them. About 6,000 have died from taking one, by the CDC’s numbers. Many of them young people who suffered little to no threat from the virus. Women are having miscarriages in far greater numbers if vaccinated. No medical treatment has ever been allowed to remain available with that many deaths attributed to it. Something is going on, and it isn’t to keep you healthy.

    1. Thats very interesting if true…care to link a source on that? I tried looking it up and found this CDC report from 2009 which seems to directly contradict your statement.

      As for masks symbolizing obedience I have to agree with you there, people wearing masks at the height of a global pandemic are obeying the orders of epidemiologists and public health experts which seems logical to me.

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