Effective July 1st, Jackson County has instituted a mask requirement as a part of its Phase 2 Recovery Plan.
According to the County, the order is in response to reports of increasing case counts and a potential overwhelming of the health care system. So far, more than 2,600 people have been infected with the virus and 62 people have died in Jackson County. Local public health directors and hospital officials say wearing a face mask is the most effective and least costly strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“While some continue to deny the overwhelming judgment of public health officials, none of us are safe from this deadly disease,” Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. said.
“However, we should find comfort in the fact that we have the power to dramatically reduce the impact this virus has on our community by simply wearing a mask. It protects you and more importantly, makes it less likely you will accidently harm someone else. Wearing a mask should not be politicized. Wearing a mask is about saving a life. Be a hero, wear a mask.”
Under the new order, masks covering the mouth and nose must be worn in:
A public indoor space, including a workplace, business, school, place of worship, or public facility such as a community center or library;
A public outdoor space, including parks, playgrounds, farmers markets, bus stops and restaurant/bar patio seating, and when using public transportation, taxis or ride-sharing services.
The following individuals are exempt from the mask requirement:
Those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Children younger than five years old; and
Children who are younger than two years old should never wear face coverings due to the risk of suffocation.
Children who are two, three, or four years old, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommended to wear a face covering at all times in settings, like grocery stores or pharmacies, where it is likely that a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained from non-household members and vulnerable people must go.
Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to, persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
"The science is clear that when we wear masks, we limit the spread of droplets being passed on to others when we talk, cough or sneeze,” Jackson County Health Department Director Bridgette Shaffer, MPH said.
“While some of us are wearing masks in public, we must increase usage to best control the virus. Mask wearing is one of the simplest and least invasive tools we have to protect our families, friends, and neighbors in Jackson County.”
The mask requirement is part of a modified Phase 2 of the Jackson County Recovery Plan, which includes changes to allow in-person instruction at schools, playgrounds to reopen and increased outdoor capacity limits to 100 people.
Residents and businesses with questions should contact the health department by visiting www.jacohd.org/coronavirus, calling (816) 404-9883 or emailing COVID19@tmcmed.org.
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