On Monday, July 6, 2020, the Columbia City Council passed a mask ordinance in a 6-1 emergency vote. Under the ordinance, everyone 10 years of age and older that is within Columbia city limits will be required to wear a mask when around people who are not household members. The ordinance goes into effect on Friday, July 10 at 5 p.m. This ordinance is in place for 90 days unless otherwise rescinded or extended.
"We are hopeful that this action by Council can help us regain control of the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Boone County," said Stephanie Browning, director of Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS).
A mask is defined as a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face. Masks may be factory-made, or handmade and improvised from ordinary household materials. Household items such as bandanas, towels, t-shirts or any other cotton or linen fabric can be used to make a mask. If choosing to wear a cloth mask, it is recommended that they be made with at least 2 layers of fabric.
A mask will be required in all instances where it can not be expected to stay at least 6 feet away from people outside of the immediate household. This includes, but is not limited to, at retail establishments, when walking in and out of restaurant and bar establishments, when spectating at a sporting event, etc.
There are exemptions for people who have a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a mask. Exemptions are also made for people who are hearing impaired and people communicating with individuals who are hearing impaired. Additional exemptions include:
- While outdoors when able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
- While exercising outdoors or when exercising indoors and able to maintain a 6 foot distance.
- When playing a sport or sporting activity as authorized by the existing Health Order.
- When at home with only members of your household.
- When in your car/vehicle.
- When actively eating or drinking, or while seated and adequately spaced from others at a food establishment (see FAQ for more detail).
- When getting a service that requires the temporary removal of a mask, such as during a dental exam, facial, makeup application, etc.
- When the removal of the mask is necessary to confirm identity.
- When federal or state law prohibits wearing a mask or requires the removal of a mask, such as when going through TSA at the airport.
- When requested by a law enforcement officer, medical provider or emergency response personnel.
- When at your place of work, safely distanced from other people for example, in your office.
The City of Columbia encourages everyone to review the Ordinance in its entirety. Additional information can be found in the FAQ document or by emailing coronavirus@CoMo.gov for further questions not yet addressed.