Mask mandate ends; Nixa responds

Madison Madura, Contributing Writer

   The first mask ordinance in Nixa was first issued on October 21, 2020. According to a press release written by Drew Douglas, the Director of Communications, Mayor Brian Steele said that the mask mandate will end, but he will still take precautions with COVID-19.

 “We continue to work with and listen to regional health leaders and our neighboring communities regarding ongoing pandemic response,” Steele said.

   Another statement, according to the press release by Douglas, was made to have extra precaution about being cautious around others.

“If you feel sick with COVID-like symptoms, we still encourage you to get tested for COVID-19 so health officials can continue to monitor how many cases we have in our community and monitor any potential spread of variants of the disease,” Douglas wrote.

   During the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses had to close down, or require masks. Laysa Putnam, owner operator at Nixa Dry Cleaners and Laundry, stayed open and required masks during the pandemic. She expects business to stay the same once the mandate is lifted, and hopes to not lose any customers. 

“We will not require masks,” Putnam said. “But we will encourage social distancing and be sure we keep a clean facility. I expect business to stay the same after the mask mandate is lifted.” 

   However, some businesses in Nixa that are privately owned may keep the rule of masks being required. This is not illegal because they are not owned by the city of Nixa so they can ask people to leave if they don’t follow the rules.

   As the mask mandate is lifted businesses will take extra precautions to keep safe and clean and to keep busy. Putnam said how she would keep safe. 

“There will be extra cleaning, and we will offer curbside and delivery services,” Putnam said.

   COVID-19 was a strange time in our community, but Nixa got through it. Many lives were lost, and many suffered the pain of COVID-19. In the press release, Mayor Steele said a special thank you to end the bittersweetness of the masking ordinance finally ending.

“Despite everything the pandemic took from us, I am proud of our community for the way we came together to protect and serve one another, and the amazing ways in which we have adapted and shown that we are Nixa Strong,” Steel said.