The City of Joplin considers purchasing masks for every resident

Funding could be reimbursed from CARES grant, would provide two masks for each citizen

JOPLIN, Mo. – The City of Joplin is considering purchasing masks for each of Joplin’s residents. We spoke with the city on why they might think it’s necessary.

The City of Joplin wants to provide two masks for every citizen in the city; that’s a total of 100,000 at a cost of $64,500. The funding comes out of the city’s general fund, however, they’re planning to request reimbursement from the CARES grant. Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanley says although there’s not a current mask mandate, providing masks is a necessary step to keeping the city safe. “I think part of the solution is providing masks especially for those that might have a hard time buying one themselves.”

As for distribution, Mayor Stanley says they’re looking into several avenues. “I think it’s going to be a multi-faceted distribution where it might be leaning into the not-for-profits, it might be leaning into the businesses that might have a lot of patrons that will come through, but trying to make sure all where they’re needed are getting into the hands of certainly the people who need them.”

Joplin Health Department Director Dan Pekarek says the city’s desire to purchase and provide the masks sends a powerful message. “I think it would make a statement to the public that hey, city council tasks the mask important, and it’s just an effort to get that, to raise that consciousness of individuals about the need to wear masks.”

Pekarek says it’s important to remember that with the number of asymptomatic cases, wearing a mask could save a life. “When I’m out and about if I don’t have symptoms and I don’t wear a mask, I can be infecting other individuals that are around me within that six foot range, so it is important that we wear masks.”