Protest planned against possible Springfield mask mandate

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 5:21 PM CDT
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With new cases of COVID-19 showing no signs of slowing down, wearing a mask in public could become a reality for many of us in the coming weeks.

Springfield City Council is will hold an emergency vote on Monday on a mask mandate. If passed, it could take effect next Wednesday, July 16. Not everyone is happy about the possible mandate.

People plan to stand outside of city hall on Monday to protest against that mask mandate. Thursday afternoon the event page had more than 200 people who are interested in attending.

“The new norm is frightening to me and I don’t want to, I don’t want to live like that,” said Melanie Taylor, an admin of the group Reopen Springfield, Missouri.

Taylor said while she does support social distancing and staying home if you are sick or vulnerable, she does not want the local government to require masking in public.

”I feel that they’ve moved too quickly, I don’t feel like they have given us, the people a chance to actually vote,” Taylor said. “I think it should be given to the people to make these decisions, not to the politicians to say what should be done for us.”

Earlier this week the Springfield-Greene County Health Department outlined in a memo why they feel the city needs this mandate. That was also backed by local doctors

”If we could use it across society, even if it reduced the burden of disease by 50% it would be a huge impact,” said Dr. Robin Trotman with CoxHealth.

Trotman said by adding mandatory masking to the list of local prevention methods, it can help the way health officials track the virus as well.

”Maybe the masking, and the physical distancing and human behavior gets the burden of disease down to where public health authorities can diagnose these cases and isolate and prevent ongoing transmissions,” he said.

Taylor said she does not judge others who do choose to wear a mask, but said she thinks people should still have their right to choose.

If the mandate passes, anyone over the age of 11 would have to be masked anywhere in Springfield, where social distancing is not possible.The rule would not apply when eating and drinking, and anyone who refuses faces a $100 fine.

Taylor said possible fines for not wearing them could cause more problems for families.

”I personally feel that it is a burden, could it be higher? Yes,” she said. “But again, $100 in this economic times is a really big burden.”

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