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Branson businesses, locals react to new face mask order

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 6:39 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Face masks are now required in Branson for everyone ages 13 and up in any public space, indoor and outdoor, when social distancing can’t be done.

The ordinance has the following components:

  • Requires individuals to wear face coverings while in indoor and outdoor public spaces unless they are engaged in certain activities or under the age of thirteen.
  • Requires operators of public places to ensure guests use face coverings.
  • Requires signage at all businesses outlining requirements on social distancing and face coverings.
  • The penalty for violating this ordinance is a $100 fine and potential revocation of business license and other permits.

Steve Hartley is the co-owner of Dick’s 5 & 10 in Branson. He started requiring masks a few weeks ago, before the city’s mandate. He says he’s happy the Board of Alderman passed the mandate.

“We’ve got to do our very best to make sure the COVID does not spread and this is the first step in doing it,” Hartley says.

He is offering free masks at his store to make the transition easier for customers and he says so far, it hasn’t been a problem.

“The response has been very favorable,” Hartley says. “People appreciate what we’re trying to do, being responsible and respectful and we’ve had very little angst, very little opposition.”

People who violate the ordinance can be fined $100, and businesses could lose their license.

Many people took their masks off outside, even in public places. Lynanne Minton and Cece Layton are Branson locals and they say they’ve already seen a lot of people not following the mandate, on the first day.

”It bothers me when I don’t see other people doing it because I’m doing it but some people you’re not gonna change their mind about it,” Minton says.

”It bothers me the most because we’re not gonna get in control of this coronavirus unless everybody can buckle down and do the right thing,” Layton says.

Exemptions are made for those with a health condition documented by a medical professional, who are hearing impaired and someone who is communicating with a person who is hearing impaired.

Other exemptions include:

  • While swimming
  • While obtaining a service involving the head, face or nose
  • While playing a sport, exercising or using exercise equipment
  • While outdoors while maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet
  • While outdoors who is closer than six feet to family members of people they reside with
  • While performing on a fixed stage
  • While engaging in public speaking while socially distancing
  • Any public safety officer engaged in an emergency situation
  • Any person during a wedding ceremony or while photographs of the wedding and reception are taken
  • Any family member of a deceased person during a funeral, interment or memorial

Minton and Layton both say since Branson is such a popular spot for thousands of tourists from around the country, they’re concerned by people already not wearing masks.

”When they don’t wear the masks I feel like they don’t care and heck with everybody else my rights are more important than the health of the population of our country,” Layton says.

The mask ordinance is set to expire on September 8, but the Board of Aldermen could vote to extend it past that date.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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