On Friday, July 10th at 5:00 PM, Columbia began enforcing a city-wide mask ordinance. The ordinance requires that people wear a mask outside their households in situations in which an individual cannot keep at least six feet distance from others. As of right now, Jefferson City and other municipalities in the area have not passed a similar mask ordinance.
The city of Columbia passed the ordinance with the hopes that it would be a public health measure that aims to reduce the number of positive COVID-19 cases. However, there are potential fines associated with noncompliance.
Here are the main takeaways from the Mask Ordinance:
- The ordinance went into effect Friday, July 10th at 5:00 PM, and will last for at least 90 days. The city has the authority to extend the length of the order, if necessary.
- The ordinance is currently scheduled to end in October.
- Homemade and factory masks that cover your mouth and nostrils comply with the ordinance.
- Masks that cover the wearer’s forehead and eyes are not allowed. Similarly, masks with a one-way valve that allows for droplets to be exhaled are not sufficient.
- Employers must provide masks for employees.
- For individuals, violating the ordinance can result in a $15 fine.
- For businesses, violating the ordinance can result in a $100 fine.
Exemptions from the ordinance include:
- Exercising indoors or outdoors when six feet of distance can be maintained.
- Eating and drinking.
- Outdoor activities when six feet of distance can be maintained.
- Medical conditions that prevent mask-wearing.
- Children under the age of 10.
The city of Columbia plans to issue educational warnings to people found to be in violation of the ordinance. Blatant or intentional violations, however, will not be taken lightly by law enforcement.