Branson’s face covering ordinance has been repealed by the Branson Board of Aldermen.
The repeal of the ordinance goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 16.
An amendment, made by Alderman Clay Cooper, moved the effective date of the ordinance from ‘immediate’ to take place approximately 48 hours after its passage, which was ultimately made specific to Friday, April 16.
“I don’t know how much time (people need). For me I’m just gonna take a sign down. I don’t mean that disrespectful, I’m just saying,” said Cooper, in response to aldermen comments that businesses may need more time to prepare. “I don’t think there’s a lot of preparation time that’s needed, because most of the bigger companies in town and a lot of the moms and pops are going to keep this in place. I don’t think there needs to be a lot of time to make that change. That’s just my opinion.
“And I would just want to follow up on what Cody said, when businesses do require to keep the masks in place, I think a lot of businesses will do that, and that’s fine...I’m just saying I really hope we can be responsible and respectful enough to honor the decisions of those businesses that choose to require masks and follow their requests. If you don’t want to put one on, go shop somewhere else or see a show somewhere else.”
The ordinance, to repeal the face covering ordinance, was brought before the board at the request of Mayor Larry Milton. It was ultimately passed unanimously by the board on a first and second reading.
This moves up the timeline for the previously passed ordinance, that was passed at the March 23 meeting, which set the repeal date on May 24.
According to the staff report provided by the city of Branson, the repeal of this ordinance in no way prevents individuals from choosing to wear a face covering.
It also does not prevent local businesses from enforcing their own safety requirements, including the use of face coverings by both staff and customers. According to the report, many “big-box” retailers have continued to impose restrictions for the safety of their customers and employees even after restrictions are eased or lifted by state and local governments.
According to report, the following evidence was submitted with the ordinance:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown a significant decrease in weekly COVID-19 cases since late 2020 for Missouri and is forecasting a relatively flat trend of cases for the next four weeks (current modeling can be located at the CDC Data Tracker).
As of April 8, 2021, 29.3% of Missouri, 23.3% of Stone County, and only 19.7% of Taney County has initiated the COVID-19 vaccination (current information can be obtained from the State of Missouri COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard).
The CDC has provided their Interim Public Health Recommendations for fully vaccinated people, which relax the use of face coverings and physical distancing for those individuals that are fully vaccinated.
Visit the ‘Agendas and Minutes’ link under the ‘Government’ tab at bransonmo.gov to see the complete agenda item or check out the city’s Youtube page ‘CityofBranson’ to watch the live streamed meeting and hear the full discussion.