Joplin's new mask ordinance goes into effect today. It was adopted Wednesday by the Joplin City Council to try to curb the spread of COVID-19.
If will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, unless the council chooses to end it before then or extend the requirement.
Under the measure, anyone 6 or older must wear a mask or a face shield inside businesses or public buildings in an effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Masks or shields also are to be worn outdoors when it is not possible to physically distance in a group of more than 10 people who are not family members.
Those places subject to the requirement should provide notice of the requirement by displaying a sign or sticker at the entrance, according to discussions at the meeting Wednesday at which the City Council voted 6-3 to implement the precaution against COVID-19.
The regulation requires that the mouth and nose be covered by the mask or shield. It allows for the use of commercially made masks or those that are handmade of multiple layers of fleece, cotton, linen or other materials.
The city of Joplin has ordered masks that are to be distributed free to residents next week outside Memorial Hall. Residents may need to show a city utility bill to prove residency, it was discussed at the meeting, but final details on that are to be announced.
Businesses have the right to refuse service to those who refuse to comply and who cannot claim an exemption from the provision, according to the ordinance. City staff and law enforcement officers will act in support of businesses that need to enforce the use of masks, the ordinance states. Enforcement would first involve educating people and giving an opportunity to comply followed by a warning and then a civil citation if necessary.
Fines up to $50 could be imposed for a violation, the ordinance states.
It allows Joplin school officials to work with the Joplin Health Department to implement safety protocols for schoolchildren that are safe and feasible for each grade level.
There are exemptions to the requirement for:
• Those who have medical conditions, mental health conditions, developmental disabilities or fall under other provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act do not have to wear a face covering.
• Those with religious beliefs that prevent the wearing of a face covering.
• Bar and restaurant patrons while they are dining or consuming drink.
• Participants in team sports, exercise or other physical activity where masks or social distancing are not feasible.
• During medical or dental treatments.
Also, children younger than 6 are exempt.