Now that everyone 16 years old and up is eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, Mayor Quinton Lucas is relaxing the mask mandate, which has been in place since June last year.

Lucas announced that starting on Friday, masks are no longer required outdoors or in private indoor spaces where social distancing of at least six feet can be maintained. However, masks are still required in all indoor spaces of public accommodation. The updated order will remain in effect until May 28 unless modified or rescinded before that date.

Lucas said the order will mostly apply to private workplaces, where employers can encourage their whole staff to get vaccinated and no longer require masks in their office.

All business facilities, including restaurants and taverns are also allowed to operate at full capacity, provided mask guidelines are followed.

There are exceptions to the new indoor mask requirements and masks won’t be required if:

Any interaction or gathering, per CDC guidance, in which the parties have knowledge that all persons present indoors are fully vaccinated by federally approved vaccine(s) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Minors below the age of 5.

Persons who have disabilities for which masks constitute a substantial impairment to their health and well-being based upon medical, behavioral, or legal direction.

Persons who are in a restaurant or tavern and are engaged in consuming food or drink while adequately distanced from other patrons.

Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering or mask is necessary to perform the service.

The order will be enforced by the KC Health Department and businesses found to be violating regulations may be closed or cited.

While Kansas City’s COVID-19 case numbers are down from last year, Lucas said the city is still encouraging everyone to get tested and vaccinated. Just more than a third of Kansas Citians have been vaccinated so far.

Rex Archer, Kansas City Health Department director said he is 100% on board with the decision to relax the mask mandate.

“These are minimum guidelines and most people will do a little bit more or quite a bit more to protect themselves and others,” Archer said.

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