BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Commission will issue either a mask advisory or mandate in the coming weeks.
Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill confirmed with KOMU 8 News the plan after a conference call was held Monday morning with county leaders. Atwill said there was newfound support across the county during the meeting.
"People have finally realized this has to be done," Atwill said.
Columbia is the only city to have a mask order in place currently in Boone County. Ashland passed a mask advisory over the weekend. Atwill said a mask advisory is a reminder to citizens to "be careful," whereas an order is stronger and people who don't abide by it can be fined.
Atwill said one of the reasons the county is considering an order is because of local resistance.
"It's almost impossible to change their minds on that -- I don't know how to do it," Atwill said. "That's one reason we're going to, in all likelihood, issue an order."
Sturgeon Mayor Steve Crosswhite confirmed with KOMU 8 News that a mask mandate will be reviewed Monday night at the Board of Aldermen meeting.
"It's pretty clear that they're ready for a helping hand and want to go the next level," Atwill said.
As of Monday afternoon, Atwill said he had been in touch with the council and Stephanie Browning of the Columbia/Boone County Health Department.
"Some ideas are quickly being put together to extend the health order that has already been in place," Atwill said.
He said one of the main factors that is pushing the Commission to pass a mask order is the increase in cases across the county and specifically the number of hospitalizations.
"It is critical we do everything that we can to prevent that from happening. I don't know if it's preventable but we'll try," Atwill said. "We don't want to be in a position where people who need hospitalization for any reason can't have a place in our local facilities."
The Commission will have two readings before voting on the plan. Atwill said he would like for this to happen by Dec. 1.