Joplin Mayor weighs in on mask mandate, attorney weighs options for businesses to enforce

JOPLIN, Mo. – There are things for residents and business owners in Joplin to know following the passage of the city’s new mask mandate.

Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanley says he’s hopeful the new mandate will ease the workload on local hospitals following a letter from health care providers to community leaders in the area. “But I know that it’s not just the 50,000 residents of the city that are going to be affected by this, it’s going to be the 250,000 that do business, that work, that shop here, and so I do think an ordinance in the City of Joplin will be significant.”

When it comes to businesses enforcing the mandate, Mayor Stanley says the city is behind them. “Some businesses will want to enforce this very strictly and if they do we’re there to support we’re there to back them up and make sure that they are empowered to enforce it strictly.”

Local attorney Bill Fleischaker says, so is the law. “A mask requirement is just like a shirt or a shoes requirement, if a business owner wants to say ‘I’m not going to be business with you if you don’t come in wearing a mask’ a business owner has the right to do that.”

Some people have said it’s a violation of their civil rights, under the civil rights act, regarding discrimination, if a business refuses service to them. Fleischaker says, that’s not what the act is for. “That act, that law that people are talking about doesn’t say anything specifically about masks, it says you shall not discriminate, and then it sets out the categories, such as race, sex, et cetera, that you can’t discriminate upon, but it doesn’t say anything about masks.”

Just as a reminder, the new mandate runs from now until 11:59pm February 28th, 2021. However, like the previous mandate, it includes the option for the council to extend it, or cancel it, at anytime.

You can read the full ordinance below.

Ordinance No. 2020-176-Face coverings NOV - FEB