As St. Louis returns to mandatory masking amid the surge of the COVID-19 delta variant, Kansas City leaders are continuing to encourage residents to get vaccinated.
“While masks are not currently mandatory in Kansas City,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement Friday, “we continue to encourage Kansas Citians to wear masks in large indoor settings, or if you are in close proximity to an unvaccinated person. Kansas City, please — please — take the vaccine if you have not yet.”
St. Louis announced it would require all residents to mask up beginning Monday.
The decision, similar to those taken in the early days of the pandemic, came Friday afternoon. Everyone, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated, will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and on public transit.
Last week, 10 Kansas City health agencies — prompted by rising COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and low vaccination rates — issued a joint public health advisory recommending unvaccinated people wear masks.
Kansas City lifted its mask mandate in May.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been proud of Kansas City’s decisive leadership — which saved lives — and Kansas City government will continue to act in the best interest of the health and safety of our community,” Lucas said.
He said he has been in regular contact with health leaders, both locally and in St. Louis, as they monitor the spread and will continue to do so.
“Still, the best way to save lives and beat the pandemic once and for all continues to be through vaccination: it is safe, highly effective, and free,” Lucas said.
Dr. Faisal Khan, acting director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, said the mask order is necessary to protect the most vulnerable residents and the young children who can’t yet receive the vaccine.
“Vaccinations are the best way to stop the fast-spreading Delta variant of COVID-19, but so far, not enough people have been vaccinated,” Khan said in a statement Friday. “We are relentlessly committed to making vaccinations more accessible and convenient.”