By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The city of St. Joseph will have a mask mandate for at least another two months.
The St. Joseph City Council passed a resolution Monday night to extend the city's mask mandate by 60 days, which would stretch it just beyond Easter Sunday, which falls on April 4.
The mandate, which was first issued in July, was set to expire Sunday.
Mosaic Chief Medical Officer Dr. Davin Turner recommended the mandate be extended by 120 days into early June.
"It gets us out of flu season," Dr. Turner said. "It gives us the time to have vaccinated a much larger population along with those who've already had the illness. By then, we'd be in Tier 3 (of vaccinations) and it gets us past Memorial Day."
Phase 1b - Tier 3 in Missouri includes education and childcare workers, government employees, people working in the energy and communications sector and more.
Councilmember Kent O'Dell was the first to express interest in a 60-day extension, while councilmember P.J. Kovac made a motion to extend the mandate by just 30 days. Councilmember Gary Roach seconded.
"We need to give the public something positive to look at," Roach said. "I'd prefer zero, but I'd only go up to 30 at this point."
Councilmember Marty Novak agreed.
"I think 30 days (is good)," Novak said, "and then we can keep evaluating it as we move forward."
The motion to extend the mask mandate by just 30 days failed by a 5-4 vote.
Right after, councilmember Bryan Myers motioned to extend the mandate by 60 days. Councilmember Russel Moore seconded.
"If the medical community and health department say in 45 days from now we should extend it beyond the 60 days, I think we should do it at that point in time," Myers interjected.
The motion to extend the mask mandate by 60 days in St. Joseph passed with a 7-2 margin - Roach and councilmember Madison Davis were the dissenting votes.
The council then voted 5-4 on a resolution to resume in-person city council meetings immediately, with the next one set for Feb. 22.
This includes regular and special meetings.
Councilmembers Roach, Brenda Blessing, Kovac and Moore voted to keep meetings virtual.
Davis sponsored the resolution to resume in-person meetings at the city council chambers.
"There's times that we can discuss things in a special meeting or a regular city council meeting on Zoom, and there's times that we can't," Davis said. "Sometimes, it has to be an in-person meeting. We're doing a disservice to our citizens by postponing projects continuously.
"It's time for us to meet in person, show up, do the work we were elected to do and stop meeting virtually."
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