Joplin business plans after mask mandate expires
Joplin's face mask ordinance expires, leaving option up to individual business owners.
JOPLIN, Mo. – Bonnie Maciver and her kids get some time in the sun at Schifferdecker Park, a great way to spend a beautiful morning.
“Letting the kids run and play and then they come back and we do a little home school,” says Maciver.
She and her family just moved to Joplin from Arizona a few months ago — when the city’s face mask mandate was still in effect. Safety has been a top concern for the family, so even though wearing a face covering can be inconvenient, she says they wear them. Now that the city has let the mandate expire, she plans to be a little more selective about where they go.
“Are there still stores that are gonna require that? So we’ll probably just take it case by case,” says Maciver.
Taking it case by case is what many will have to do, since the decision to require masks is now up to individual business owners. We spoke to two businesses that are doing things a bit different from one another.
The first, Blush Boutique in downtown Joplin, will require employees wear masks — especially when customers are inside. They also plan to keep up with their enhanced cleaning and sanitizing.
“I guess I will just leave it up to each individual. I mean, the mandate has been lifted, so I feel like I can’t put a sign up on the door. But I think most people will still wear their mask,” says Blush Boutique owner Julie Bollin.
She adds that most people that came in on Monday — the first day without the city mandate — still wore masks even though it wasn’t required.
Down the street about half a mile is Body Accents Tattoo Studio.
“We haven’t changed a thing. Really, we’re acting like the mandate’s still in place,” explains Korey Jennings, Assistant Manager at the tattoo studio.
At Body Accents, everyone that steps through the door is required to wear a face covering, especially if they’re getting a tattoo. Face masks are offered at the shop to anyone that doesn’t have one.
“We basically have to be in close with them while we’re working on them, but that doesn’t mean we have to be unsafe about it,” says Jennings.
We reached out to several business owners, on Friday the 26th, and on Monday the 1st, to see what their plans were and if they had any thoughts on the city letting the mandate expire. But, many of them didn’t want to comment, saying the issue had become too divisive.
“It really didn’t bother me. I don’t think it effected my business either way, so it really wasn’t an issue,” says Bollin.
“I support the city in that. I do,” says Jennings. “I mean, we feel that it helps and we’ll continue to do it because that’s our personal belief. But, when it comes to the rest of the folks out there, buyer beware. Let them chose for themselves.”
The Joplin Family YMCA on Friday posted to Facebook that they would require employees to wear masks and continue social distancing, and encourage members to wear them inside the facility.
The face mask ordinance in Joplin was first enacted in July, 2020, but expired the next month in August. After strong encouragement from the local medical community, the mandate was reinstated in November, and just expired March 1st.