BOONE COUNTY- Boone County has been issued a mask mandate that will go into effect at 12 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25. It will expire at 11:59 a.m. on Dec. 8, unless otherwise extended, rescinded or modified. 

The Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Director Stephanie Browning issued Public Health Order 2020-15.1(c) on Tuesday morning. 

Under the new order, everyone 10 years of age and older in Boone County outside of Columbia city limits will be required to wear a mask when around people who are not household members. 

A mask will be required in all instances where it can not be expected to stay at least 6 feet away from people outside of the immediate household, including retail establishments, walking in and out of restaurants and while at sporting events.

It is similar to the mask requirements that was put into place within Columbia city limits on July 10.

The Boone County Commission voted 2-1 to endorse the mandate on Tuesday morning. 

"The County Commission has great concern for our citizens, our health care professionals and our medical facilities. We are facing issue s we have never seen or could have dreamed up," Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill said. "Everyone needs to do everything they can to protect themselves and the people they come into contact with from the COVID-19 virus. We will eventually be through this but right now is no time to ignore our individual responsibilities."

Enforcement of mask wearing will be based on routine inspections and following up on complaints. PHHS said any person or business who violates the order may be sentenced to pay a fine which does not exceed $15 for an individual and $100 for a business or nonprofit entity. Each violation will be counted as a separate offense.

According to PHHS, a mask is defined as a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face.

Masks may be factory-made, or handmade and improvised from ordinary household materials. Household items such as bandanas, towels, t-shirts or any other cotton or linen fabric can be used to make a mask.

If choosing to wear a cloth mask, it is recommended that they be made with at least 2 layers of fabric. For example, if a gator is worn it should be folded to ensure two layers of protection.

[Editor's Note: Columbia started their mask mandate in July. This mandate will now include Ashland, Centralia, Hallsville, Harrisburg, Rocheport, Hartsburg, Sturgeon, McBaine, Pierpont and Huntsdale.]

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