The city of Mission on Wednesday became the latest Johnson County city to adjust its citywide mask rules in the face of a summer surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the contagious Delta variant.
At its meeting Wednesday night, the Mission City Council unanimously approved an order to require masks for city employees and members of the public in most indoor settings inside city facilities.
The new rules were presented as recommendations from city staff and presented by City Administrator Laura Smith.
Mission’s move does not go as far as neighboring Prairie Village’s citywide mask mandate approved Monday, which requires masks be worn in most public indoor spaces, including businesses and restaurants.
Mask rules for the public
Mission’s new mask rules apply only to city-run facilities.
Members of the public will be required to wear masks inside city facilities in the following areas and situations:
- in public areas (like lobbies, bathrooms and courtrooms) of City Hall, public works and police facilities
- also, in any non-public areas of City Hall, police or public works facilities
- when attending a public meeting
- during fingerprinting services at the police department
- and in common areas like hallways, locker rooms or the entry desk at the Sylvester Powell Community Center (which is closed through at least Aug. 27 for annual maintenance).
Masks are encouraged — but not required — from members of the public in these situations:
- inside rental spaces at Sylvester Powell Community Center
- when exercising at Sylvester Powell Community Center
For city employees, masks will be mandatory inside city facilities at all times indoors unless an employee is at their work station or in their office alone.
Masks will also be required for city workers inside city vehicles with another person.
City staff’s original recommendations did not include requiring masks in public areas of city facilities, but Councilmember Hillary Thomas moved to add those spaces, like lobbies, bathrooms and court rooms, to the masking requirement.
Councilmember Ken Davis suggested that residents should also wear masks while attending public meetings, citing concern about increased local spread of COVID-19.
“I know that you’ve been monitoring the current information that’s been provided by our chief medical officers in the area (about) the intensity of the virus and what has been happening in our community,” Davis said. “Furthermore, many hospitals cannot take any more patients.”
Councilmember Sollie Flora, who is also running for mayor in November, agreed that requiring masks in public areas of facilities made sense, especially given recently updated CDC guidance that fully vaccinated individuals should still be wearing masks in indoor areas of high transmission.
Councilmember Trent Boultinghouse echoed approval of following the guidance that the CDC has provided.
“I don’t think anyone takes any pleasure in continuing to wear these,” Boultinghouse said. “I know I don’t, but I continue to think it’s smart and makes sense for the public to keep following that guidance.”