Kansas City leaders not ready to commit to citywide proof of vaccination requirement

·3 min read

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas praised any efforts to boost vaccination rates on Tuesday, stopping shy of saying whether the city would pursue a citywide requirement for proof of vaccination.

“I commend any community in our country looking to boost vaccination,” Lucas posted to Twitter Tuesday afternoon. “We are aware of many efforts to encourage vaccination and meet daily with health officials to review what’s best for Kansas City.”

The mayor’s comment came the same day New York moved to require customers to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for indoor dining, entertainment or exercise.

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A new mask mandate took effect for Kansas City on Monday, requiring everyone — regardless of vaccination status — to mask up in places of indoor accommodation where social distancing cannot be maintained. If the business can verify that everyone inside has been vaccinated, they are not required to wear masks.

Some local businesses, however, have announced they will require customers to provide proof of vaccination to enter.

Four bars so far have announced the requirement: The Ship in Kansas City’s West Bottoms neighborhood, KC Improv Company in the Westport neighborhood, and Hamburger Mary’s and Woody’s — both LGBTQ bars — in Midtown.

New York City will require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone who wants to dine indoors at a restaurant, see a performance or go to the gym, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday, making it the first big city in the U.S. to impose such restrictions.

The new requirement, which will be phased in over several weeks in August and September, is the most aggressive step the city has taken yet to curb a surge in cases caused by the delta variant. People will have to show proof that they have had at least one dose of a vaccine.

About 66% of adults in New York City are fully vaccinated, according to official data. In Kansas City, just 39.4% of people are fully vaccinated, according to city data. Statewide, 41.5% of people in the state have completed vaccination, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Missouri’s vaccination rate falls behind the country at large where 49.7% of people have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.

Members of a November conference planned for Kansas City said they are reconsidering because of the combined low vaccination rate and rapidly increasing cases, Lucas said over the weekend.

Missouri, with the southwest region of the state especially hit hard, have become hotspots for the delta variant.

The Kansas City metro has recorded 162,519 cases of COVID-19 and 2,353 deaths to date. On Tuesday, 12 new deaths were reported and the seven-day average of cases rose to 618, according to data tracked by The Star.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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