Joplin City Council votes to allow mask ordinance to expire

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin City Council tonight voted to allow the city’s mask ordinance to expire. The vote was 5 in favor and 4 against.

The mask mandate has been a heated topic for many in the city since it’s passage back in July. 19 people signed up to speak about the mask mandate in the city.

The mandate first came up at a special meeting of the council on June 24th. However, it failed in a four to five vote. It was amended, which included adding the expiration date, and re-addressed at a special meeting on July 8th, and at that time, it passed seven to two.

However, at several council meetings in between those times a number of citizens voiced their concerns and opposition to the ordinance, including some local physicians.

The chambers were standing room only with one of the largest crowds since the police and fire pay issues a couple of years ago. Council heard from a few people at the beginning of the meeting, but in an effort to streamline the process,they moved the remaining people to the end of the meeting.

Around 22 people stood and voiced their opposition of the ordinance. Some, spoke to general numbers and survival rates of COVID, others, tackled COVID itself as being blown out of proportion.

During Assistant City Manager, and Acting Health Department Director Dan Pekerak’s presentation, he made recommendations to council regarding the mask mandate, which drew a vocal response from the crowd, shouting ‘no’.