Joplin City Council votes to ease remaining COVID-19 restrictions

JOPLIN, Mo. –Joplin city council voted to relax all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, as the council voted unanimously to enter step four of phase three.

Before the meeting, Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanley said he was focused on discussing face masks in service industries.

“The biggest question is are servers still gonna be required to wear face coverings or are people in the service industry like barbers and hairstylists where they will still be required to wear face coverings when they’re within close proximity of their patrons,” Stanley said.

After the council’s vote to ease restrictions, they won’t be.

But at least one local salon owner says this doesn’t change anything for them.

 “We will still continue to mandate masks until all our employees are fully vaccinated, until everyone who has had a chance to get it, the shot, has been able to get it, and that’s too early for that to be now,” said Eric Haun, owner of Viola Salon in Joplin.

Haun added that having a mask mandate at his salon, even when they aren’t required, has helped his business out.

“We’ve actually gotten busier because we do require masks in such a personal industry where we touch people, and I think that’s actually made us insanely crazy busy in doing  haircuts manicures, and pedicure because we touch people, you get to know people you care about them, you want to keep them safe.”

Mayor Stanley says the motivation behind voting on this at tonight’s meeting was due to declining case numbers.

“Cases are manageable, numbers are going down, hospitals have capacity, vaccine is readily available to all that want it, all of the math is moving in our favor and we feel like we’ve got some room to continue to relax,” Stanley said.

Now, the city will proceed with caution should cases spike again.