FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mo. — Franklin County is the latest county in Missouri to enact a face mask mandate.
Late Thursday afternoon the Franklin County Commission passed a mask order which will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 20 and will expire on Dec. 20.
According to the order, anyone 10 years old and above must wear a face mask any time they are in contact with other people in public indoor spaces who are not household members.
"If we do not slow the spread of the virus, we risk having our health care systems overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. This poses a significant risk not only to those suffering from COVID-19, our first responders, and those working in our healthcare systems, but to anyone requiring health care support. This includes people requiring emergency services and ICU access from car accidents to treatment of serious health conditions such as cancer," Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said.
According to the order, a person may remove their face mask where otherwise required under the following circumstances:
- While outdoors when able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others;
- While exercising outdoors or while exercising indoors when able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others;
- When engaged in a sporting activity;
- While at home; provided however, the wearing of a face mask shall be required in all common areas of any multifamily structure;
- When in a vehicle;
- While eating or drinking in the dining area of a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, provided that person is able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from persons seated at other tables, and provided this distance restriction is enforced by the restaurant or other establishment;
- When an individual has a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face mask;
- When any party to a communication is deaf or hard of hearing and not wearing a face mask is essential to communication;
- While obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face mask, such as dental examinations;
- When necessary to confirm the individual's identity;
- When federal or state law prohibits wearing a face mask or requires the removal of a face mask;
- When requested by a law enforcement officer;
- When requested by a medical provider, including emergency response personnel;
- When in a business/commercial/office setting and not within six feet of any other person; provided however, when moving from place to place in a business location where the person cannot maintain at all times a distance of six feet from all other persons a face mask shall be worn.
If someone is convicted of a violation of the face mask order, they may have to pay a fine of $15 or for a business, government of nonprofit entity the fine is $100.
On Nov. 13, Dr. Alex Garza, the head of the task force, called for statewide measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including a face mask mandate; a statewide "safer at home" policy and a plan to help health care workers. Earlier on Thursday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson reiterated that he would not put a statewide mask order in place.
“I have been very clear on that from the beginning and that hasn’t changed,” Parson said. He said he still believes in local control of mandates of that nature.
Earlier this month, the CDC said wearing a face mask not only protects others from the spread of the coronavirus, but it protects the wearer too.
"Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation," the CDC said in its document that details scientific evidence.