KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) — All restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus were being rescinded as of midday Friday in Kansas City, Missouri, following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that allows fully vaccinated Americans to stop wearing masks indoors in most settings.
St. Louis and St. Louis County also may be about to further ease restrictions. St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page planned an announcement on Friday.
While Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson allowed the state to largely reopen in May 2020, just a couple of months into the pandemic, the two urban areas and many other counties established their own, stricter guidelines. Though the urban areas recently eased restrictions, Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued St. Louis County on Tuesday, saying continued regulations infringed on the freedom of residents.
The new CDC guidance announced Thursday still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat, said on Twitter late Thursday that the new guidance “creates confusion with Kansas City's order.” As a result, the city's COVID-19 emergency order is being terminated.
“I cannot in good faith impose an order, replete with penalties for non-compliance, that is impossible for our businesses to follow,” Lucas wrote.
Kansas City reduced restrictions last month, but still required masks in most indoor situations with crowds. Earlier this month, St. Louis city and county both ended limits on the number of people allowed in restaurants and ended an outdoor masking requirement.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service's COVID-19 dashboard on Friday showed that at least 507,058 Missourians have contracted the virus since the onset of the pandemic, and 8,855 have died. The website shows that 49.7% of Missourians have received at least one shot, and 39.1% are fully vaccinated.