Nixa, Ozark enact emergency mask orders

Posted online

The cities of Nixa and Ozark this morning announced emergency face mask orders.

In separate news releases, the mayors of the cities – Brian Steele for Nixa and Rick Gardner for Ozark – cited increases case and hospitalization numbers in Christian County as the reason for the mandates. Data from the Christian County Health Department show more than 2,200 confirmed cases.

“The decision to enact this mask covering order was not taken lightly and a great deal of consideration went into this decision,” Gardner said in the release. “We considered that hospitals in our area are overwhelmed with patients, and the Ozark School District is seeing an increase in quarantined students and teachers.

"We need to do our part in helping slow the spread of COVID-19 and support our neighboring cities."

Steele said the order came after hearing from CoxHealth and Mercy officials about the strain rising cases of COVID-19 are putting on their staff and facilities. Christian County has the second-highest amount of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized at the regional hospitals, following Greene County, according to the release

Both orders require the use of face coverings in public spaces and include a fine of up to $100 for violations. They both take effect at midnight and expire at year's end.

The cities' governing boards previously rejected making ordinances in the summer, according to past reporting.

Springfield City Council voted earlier this month to extend the mask mandate through early 2021.