The Branson Board of Alderman voted to extend the mandatory mask mandate in a meeting last Tuesday, Oct.13. The final vote was 5-0 with Alderman Milton choosing not to vote.
Chris Lebeck, Branson city attorney, opened the meeting last week with the following statement: “So for the time being, face coverings along with good hygiene and social distancing unfortunately are the new normal for the United States.”
Both local healthcare systems, including CoxHealth and Mercy, were in favor of the masking mandate. Doctor Shawn Usery of CoxHealth, relayed that many patients from critical care have been moved to other hospitals due to a rise of COVID-19 cases:“Cox Medical Center Branson is on full critical care and emergency room divert. That means if you have a medical emergency right now sitting in this room, the ambulance is going to pick you up and they’re going to take you to a community, not this one.”
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Additional representatives of Mercy and CoxHealth came forward to speak including Dr. David Barbe who stated his concern about state numbers and how 7% of all COVID-19 testing in Missouri come back positive.
This is the third time the board has voted on a mandatory mask mandate and each meeting has not been without opposition. Before the meeting began last Tuesday, many individuals were outside protesting holding signs. Locals later had the opportunity to share their disagreement to the extension of the city ordinance. Some public comment included concern about the health risks of wearing masks, how local businesses have suffered due to the ordinance, and how the freedom of the people has been infringed upon.
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Those who were against the masking extension were allowed to seat in a remote courtroom located inside Branson City Hall. This remote room allowed individuals to watch the meeting via live stream and not have to wear a mask.
The first mask ordinance was approved in a meeting July, 2020. The second meeting was brought up in September. The third meeting on Oct.13th has ended on the vote to extend the mask mandate indefinitely.
To learn more about COVID-19 response in Branson, Missouri, see the City of Branson’s site here: https://coronavirus-response-branson-missouri-cob-gis.hub.arcgis.com/
See the full Branson Mask Ordinance here.
Sources: Full Board of Alderman Meeting
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