JEFFERSON CITY Mo. (KMIZ)
Jefferson City's mayor said Tuesday that the emergency proclamation on masks approved by the city council is a way for the city government to set an example for organizations and businesses.
The Jefferson City Council approved an emergency proclamation Monday night requiring face masks at certain city meetings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The requirement applies to people who are 10 years old or older attending any indoor, in-person public meeting. This includes council meetings as well as board, commission and committee meetings.
Mayor Carrie Tergin said it can be difficult during meetings to keep the 6 feet of distance considered adequate for protection from COVID-19.
"We realize those are situations where we have a lot of public interaction and when we invite the public here to City Hall, we realized that inside and some of those meeting settings, it may be difficult to maintain the 6-foot distancing at all times," Tergin said.
Jill Bednar, the owner of Southbank Gift Company in downtown Jefferson City, says it's a step in the right direction.
"I do think it sets a good example, I think we should follow suit with other communities in setting a mask policy," Bednar said.
Tergin said the council wanted to lead by example by promoting best practices.
"It shows that an organization for example, the city or any organization, can follow our lead and our example and voluntarily ask that in a meeting setting or in an environment where they know distancing is difficult, that they could enact their own perhaps 'company policy' or follow what the Cole County Health Department has put out there," Tergin said.
Tergin said the city works hand-in-hand with the Cole County Health Department on all health-related matters. However, Cole County Health Department officials said they did not assist with writing the proclamation.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the Cole County Health Department reported 39 active cases of COVID-19, a 1.76 percent positive rate for everyone who has been tested in the county. These numbers are relatively low compared to Boone County's 220 active cases.
There are some exemptions to the proclamation. For example, it does not apply to people with a medical condition.
According to the proclamation, people are encouraged to bring their own face mask, but the city will also make masks available.