Treece speaks on proposed masked ordinance

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COLUMBIA - Mayor Brian Treece gave an update Thursday morning on his thoughts about the proposed mask ordinance.

"On Monday, the Columbia City Council will consider an emergency ordinance to require widespread mask usage anytime you will be in contact with people who are not household members, in public or indoor spaces. A mask is not required when you can maintain at least 6 feet of distance outside, or when you're in a business, commercial, or office setting and you can maintain 6 feet of distance," Treece said.

People with medical conditions or disabilities that would prevent them from wearing masks are exempt from the order, as are children under the age of 10. 

In addition, a mask will not be required when eating or drinking.

The ordinance would go into effect for 90 days.

"This is a temporary and effective measure to stop the spread of coronavirus," Treece said.

Treece said wearing a face mask is not only good for public health, but will also help the economy stay open.

"Raising the percentage of people who wear masks by just 15% and slowing the daily growth rate by just 1% could save our economy from taking a 5% hit to the gross domestic product by avoiding future lockdowns and shutdowns," he said.

It is unclear who exactly will be enforcing this ordinance and who will be handing out violations, but citizens in violation will be fined $15 and businesses in violation will be fined $100.

"I would expect the Columbia Boone County Health Department, the police department, and everyone else to exercise the same diplomacy that we have seen throughout this entire, you know, 5-month period when it comes to enforcing our stay-at-home orders, essential/nonessential businesses," Treece said. "What we're trying to do is encourage this to be widespread and mainstream."

One business is hoping that customers will take it upon themselves to wear masks when required, but said they will enforce the rules if it comes down to it.

"Hopefully it's not completely up to us to enforce something like that," Sycamore front-of-house manager Michaela Cash said. "If it is up to us to enforce it, we will because it should be taken seriously. It's a public health issue."

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