Kansas City ends indoor COVID-19 restrictions, except masks
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions will be removed in Kansas City, except for mask requirements for indoor gatherings, Mayor Quinton Lucas announced Monday.
Beginning Friday, masks will no longer be required outdoors. Businesses will also no longer have to require customers to be seated, and restaurants and bars will not face capacity limits, restricted operating hours or social distancing requirements.
The order, which is in effect until May 28, includes some exceptions to requiring masks indoors. Lucas said if everyone at an indoor gathering is vaccinated, and people at the gathering know everyone is vaccinated, masks would not be required. Children younger than 5 will not have to wear masks.
The city’s current mask order required masks be worn inside or outside if people can’t maintain 6 feet of social distancing.
Lucas said Kansas City is making progress in its vaccination orders. He said he hopes Monday’s order will be the last one needed, but city and health officials believe it isn’t time to completely eliminate indoor mask requirements.
“I know that other metropolitan counties are considering abolishing a mask requirement altogether,” Lucas said. “Here in Kansas City, we do not think that it is safe to do so, especially in close, tight, indoor environments, and so we will continue to push that forward.”
Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City Health Department, said he is “100% on board” with the relaxed regulations but hoped business owners and others will see the guidelines as minimum guidelines.
“This is a good floor,” Archer said. “At the point that we have had everybody have a chance to get vaccinated who wants to get vaccinated, then I don’t feel like mandating certain level of restrictions for those who won’t get vaccinated. That’s kind of their personal responsibility now.”
The newest order comes as 33% of Kansas City residents have received at least one vaccine shot. To date, 36.7% of the state’s population has received at least one vaccine shot, according to the to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. dashboard.