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After the city has spent more than a year living under pandemic restrictions aimed toward stemming the spread of COVID-19, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced the city is fully lifting its emergency order.
The mayor said the order will be rescinded by noon Friday. He added that the city will now shift its efforts toward encouraging residents to become fully vaccinated and ensuring those needing access to vaccines are able to get them.
“We thank the many individuals and businesses in Kansas City who have worked hard to keep us all safe over the past fourteen months,” the mayor said in the statement. “We saved lives looking out for each other and all in Kansas City should be proud of the steps we have taken to protect our community’s health.”
Kansas City’s latest emergency order, approved last month, eased coronavirus-related restrictions regarding mask-wearing and social distancing. But it still required face coverings in most situations where people were close to one another.
The mayor broke the news Thursday night, a few hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention largely did away with its guidance for mask-wearing in public and private spaces. Lucas referenced that decision in his announcement, saying the new guidance “creates confusion with Kansas City’s order.”
“Staff at many establishments have been subject to harassment based on upholding our orders and we will not force them to do so further where our regulators cannot reasonably tell between those vaccinated or not at an establishment, and where our guidance may conflict with the CDC,” the mayor said, adding: “I cannot in good faith impose an order, replete with penalties for non-compliance, that is impossible for our businesses to follow.”
Lucas said the decision to get rid of the emergency order was made in consultation with Kansas City Health Director Rex Archer. He added that the city will continue to follow federal guidance provided by the CDC.
Now, the federal health agency is advising those who have been fully vaccinated that they may safely stop wearing masks altogether.