West Plains City Council considering mask ordinance

The public will get to weigh in on the proposed ordinance on Monday August, 17th.
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 9:38 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - West Plains is the latest city to consider passing an ordinance requiring people to wear masks in public. 

The proposed ordinance was released Wednesday.

In it, the city council cites a 197% increase in positive cases of COVID-19 in Howell County from July 1st to August 1st and the desire to avoid another stay-at-home order, as reasons for considering the ordinance.

On Monday, people can voice their opinions on masks ahead of a council reading of the ordinance on August 24th. 

“We’ve also had two deaths in our county due to COVID. I believe council feels there was time that we needed to do something more and that’s why we have a proposed ordinance,” West Plains City Administrator Tom Stehn told KY3.

If passed, everyone 10 and older, will have to mask up when they can't socially distance in public. 

Of course, there are a number of exceptions, including health issues.

Fines for violating the ordinance cap off at $15 for people and $100 for businesses. 

“Of course it’s a very contentious issue and so we’re trying to get as much input as we can before they make that final decision,” Stehn added.

So on Monday, in separate two-hour sessions, the public will get its chance to weigh in at the Civic Center.  

“We’ll allow 35 presenters per session, three minutes each,” Stehn explained.

Council will have a first reading of the ordinance on Monday the 24th. 

The ordinance could then be passed the later in the week and take effect immediately, for 90 days. 

“It’s just a matter of taking care of each other and being kind to each other. There’s scientific evidence that proves that wearing a mask helps to prevent the spread of the virus,” Kathy Scholss said.

“There’s a lot of us older generation that has lung damage, COPD, and if we get it, we ain’t going to make it. So I look out for other people, myself and my husband,” Christina Thompson told KY3.

“I think it should be left up to the people and not the government or anything like that,” Derek Culpepper exclaimed.

The 70 people that get to speak on Monday will be chosen randomly after registering. 

You have to register at the Civic Center ahead of time.

The two public hearing sessions will be live streamed on the city’s Facebook page. 

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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