Masking Ordinance and Phases 3A & 3B FAQs

When does the face covering ordinance go into effect? 

12:01 a.m., Thursday, July 16, 2020.

When will the face covering ordinance expire?

The masking requirement was extended through Jan. 9, 2021.

What does the ordinance require?

Face coverings are now required in areas open to the public and in most place of public accommodation in Springfield. Public Accommodation means a business or other facility, both public and private, both indoor and outdoors, open to and use by the public.

What types of places are considered places of public accommodations?

Examples include, but are not limited to, retail stores including groceries, service establishments, schools, except those of higher education, other educational service providers, transportation services and associated waiting areas, public and private social clubs and sporting events. 

What defines a face covering?

Face Covering means a device that covers the nose and mouth.

Does everyone have to wear a mask?

Under this ordinance, everyone over the age of 11 that is in the Springfield city limits will be required to wear a mask in the part of a public accommodation open to the public. There are exemptions for people who have a health condition that prevents wearing a mask. Exemptions are also made for people who are hearing impaired and people communicating with individuals who are hearing impaired. For more situations in which you should and should not wear a face mask, please refer to the questions below.

What are some examples of when to wear a face mask? Please note these are just a few examples and not a comprehensive list. 

  • When shopping at the grocery store or other retail establishment.
  • When sitting in the stands close to others while watching a sporting event.
  • When walking around spaces in public accommodations open to the public.
  • When standing in line at the store or other event.

When should I not wear a face mask?

There are several exempted activities listed in this ordinance. Those 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.
  • While at a swimming pool.
  • 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.
  • 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 at your place of work in non-public areas, for example, in your office.
  • Members of a wedding party during a wedding ceremony or while photographs of the wedding and reception are taken.

Do I need a doctor’s note to prove I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a mask?

No. You do not need a doctor’s note or documentation proving you have a medical condition preventing you from wearing a mask for purposes of the ordinance. However, you may be required to provide certification to your employer.  

Do I need to wear one in the gym?

If you are engaged in physical activity in the gym and are distanced from others, you do not need to wear one. If you are not engaged in physical activity, or are not able to remain at least 6 feet away from others, then one must be worn in a gym.

Do I need to wear one at a restaurant or bar?

Masks should be worn in restaurants and bars as you wait to be seated and while you walk to your table in the dining area. Once seated, you can remove your face mask if you are safely distanced from others. The mask should be put on anytime you leave the table. 

There is an exemption for wearing a mask during a sporting activity. Does that include coaches, umpires or other volunteers on the field/court/etc.?

Yes. Players engaged in the sporting activity are exempt from the mask requirement while they are physically active in the sport. While players on the sidelines/bench/dugout, coaches, or referees/umpires are also exempt, it is highly recommended that they DO wear a face covering.  

Are child care providers required to wear a mask?

Yes, child care providers are required to wear a mask. This includes in-home providers.  

Where can I get a mask if I do not have one?

Both reusable and cloth face masks can be purchased at many different locations around the city including grocery stores, retail establishments, or online retailers. There are also many local cloth mask makers in and around Springfield that you can find via Facebook marketplace or other buying and selling groups.

I am an employer. Where can I get masks for my employees?

Employers can order face masks through any supplier. One option is the Missouri PPE market place located on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.  

Do I have to wear a face mask in my own home?

A face mask is not necessary when in your own home and only with members of your household. If you live in a multi-family unit, such as an apartment building, wear a face mask in communal spaces, such as the laundry room and shared hallways. 

If I wear a mask do I still have to social distance?

Yes, social distancing should always be practiced, and masks are not a substitute for social distancing. Face coverings act as an additional layer of protection in slowing the spread of the virus.

I am a business owner/manager. How do I notify customers of this ordinance?

It is recommended that businesses place signs on entrances to notify customers/visitors of the mask requirement. Springfield-Greene County Health Department has created three variations of signs:

Are the City and County planning and preparing to assist businesses if one of their employees tests positive for COVID-19?

Businesses will be notified by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department if an employee tested positive for COVID-19, though the employee may tell their employer of their positive result before the Health Department is able to contact the business.  That employee will be required to be isolated until released by the Health Department. Employers should develop a list of other employees who may have had close contact with the employee who tested positive. Any employee that meets the criteria for close contact should be notified and begin quarantining at home for 14 days while they wait to be contacted by the Health Department with more information. For more information on workplace procedures, click here.

Are businesses such as factories, offices, etc. that are not open to the public required to mask in any scenario?

It may depend on the activity at the facility. For example, in the case of a factory, the factory floor is likely not open to the public. Since the Face Covering requirement does not apply to an area which is not open to the public, masks would not be required on the factory floor because it is not open to the public. If the factory has a reception area open to the public, masks would be required in the reception area.

Can businesses be fined if patrons refuse to wear a face covering? 

Technically, a business can be fined up to $100 per instance where people in public areas do not have their faces covered, but authorities are really looking for proof that there is a good faith effort to require the wearing of masks.

How will this ordinance be enforced?

Education will be the first step in enforcement. We will work to educate any violators of the ordinance before pursuing further action.

Failure to comply with this ordinance can result in a $100 fine for individuals, businesses, governments or non-profit entities. Each individual within or working for the entity is considered a separate violation.

How can violations be reported?

Violations of the face covering ordinance can be reported by emailing city@springfieldmo.gov or by calling 417-864-1010. If a customer at a business refuses to wear a face covering and is causing immediate danger to the businesses’ staff, please call 911.

Does this ordinance supersede the occupancy and social distancing requirements in the previous Road to Recovery order?

The ordinance does not supersede the Mayor’s order since it becomes effective when the Mayor’s order expires, but it does replace his order. While some of the provisions from the Mayor’s order are included in the ordinance, some aren’t, such as occupancy limits for restaurants. This ordinance replaces the occupancy and social distancing requirements in the previous order.

Get more information about choosing and wearing face coverings on the Health Department website.

What is required for businesses to continue normal operations? 

The Road to Recovery ordinance requires businesses and organizations to require persons in areas open to the public to wear a mask or other facial cover. It requires them to adhere as much as possible to the social distancing and cleaning guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including, but not limited to when customers are standing in line (should be 6 feet apart) or when individuals, including employees, are using shared indoor or outdoor spaces.

Personal Care Services

As of July 16, businesses providing personal care services (hair and nail stylists, estheticians, massage therapists, etc.) must require employees to wear a face covering and must require customers, to the extent possible while receiving the service, to wear a face covering.Personal care service businesses (hair and nail stylists, estheticians, massage therapists, tattoo artists, pet groomers, etc.) must also limit the number of all persons, including but not limited to employees, vendors and customers at any one time to a maximum of:

The result of the total square feet of that part of the building devoted to the subject business divided by 30 times 50%.  

For more specific guidance, please visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.

Retail Establishments

As of July 16, the following rules are in effect:   

Personal care services and any business engaged in retail sales to the public must limit the number of customers in any particular business or retail location at any one time to a maximum of:

  • The result of the total square feet of that part of the building devoted to the subject business divided by 30 times 50%.
  • Face coverings are required for both staff and patrons in areas open to the public.

Restaurants 

As of July 16, the following rules are in effect:

Tables indoors should be spaced 6 feet apart unless solid barriers at least six feet tall have been installed between tables or booths.Face coverings are required for both staff in areas open to the public and when working in any space food or drinks are prepared and patrons while not eating or drinking. Patio seating may be provided, and tables should be spaced 6 feet apart otherwise patrons must wear a face covering while seated except when drinking or eating. All providers of restaurant services to the public shall require face coverings as per the ordinance.If a business cannot comply with CDC recommended social distancing, then the business shall carry out to the greatest degree possible social distancing of at least 3 feet.

Counter seating and self-service buffets are not permitted.   

Will there be different requirements/regulations for outdoor seating? 

Outdoor seating must be six feet apart. Solid barriers may not be used to allow seating closer than six feet apart.

Tables a certain distance apart? 

Yes. 6 feet apart. For indoor dining, tables may be closer than 6 feet apart if a solid barrier has been installed between tables and booths.

Will staff be required to wear gloves and masks? 

Masks, yes. Gloves, no.

Will temperatures need to be checked to allow entry? No.Is the business responsible for purchasing safety materials for their staff? 

Yes.   

For more specific guidance, please visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.
 

Bars, Nightclubs and Brewery Tap Rooms

As of July 16, bars, nightclubs and tap rooms can open at any one time for a particular facility (building, not room) with physical distancing requirements met, subject to the following:   

The maximum number of customers and/or patrons allowed in the facility shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the facility divided by 30 times 50%, or 50% of the total occupancy of fixed seating in a spectator area, whichever is greater, AND

The maximum number of customers allowed in any outdoor space or area shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the space or area divided by 30 times 50%, whichever is greater.

Face coverings are required for both staff in areas open to the public and when working in any space food or drinks are prepared and patrons while not eating or drinking. Counter seating is not permitted.   

For more specific guidance, visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.

Group Entertainment   

As of July 16, businesses that bring groups of people together to share the same space, indoors or outdoors, in close physical proximity for a period of time for a particular facility (building, not room) may open with physical distancing requirements met, subject to the following:   

  • The maximum number of customers and/or patrons allowed in the facility shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the facility divided by 30 times 50%, or 50% of the total occupancy of fixed seating in a spectator area, AND
  • The maximum number of customers allowed in any outdoor space or area shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the space or area divided by 30 times 50%, whichever is greater.
  • Face coverings are required for both staff in areas open to the public and when working in any space food or drinks are prepared and patrons/ visitors except while eating or drinking or while addressing or performing for a group while staying 6 feet apart.

For more specific guidance, please visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.

Child Care

As of July 16, the following rules are in effect:

  • Child care programs, including day camps which are primarily a child care program provided they comply with the requirements in this subsection.
  • Day cares can operate with no limitations.
  • Day camps must follow the social distancing provisions; must be carried out in stable groups, preferably with 25 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 25 or fewer children are in the same group each day); children must not change from one group to another; and if more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group must be in a separate room. Groups must not mix with each other; and childcare providers must remain solely with one group of children.
  • Child care an private schools can reopen.
  • Face coverings are required for all child care providers.
  • Children ages 3 to 11 are strongly encouraged, but not required to wear a face covering, while under the direct supervision of an adult.
  • Children under the age of 3 are not required to wear a face covering.   

For more specific guidance, please visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.

Religious Services

As of July 16, religious activity, including in-person services and activity to support distance and/or virtual services may operate, provided that:

The maximum number of persons allowed at any one time for a particular facility shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the facility divided by 30 times 50%, whichever is greater, AND

The maximum number of persons allowed in any outdoor space or area shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the space or area divided by 30 times 50%, whichever is greater.

Face masks are required for both staff and patrons/visitors except while eating or drinking or while addressing or performing for a group while staying 6 feet apart.

Weddings: Face coverings are required for staff and guests. The wedding party is not required to wear face coverings during the ceremony or while photos for the ceremony and reception are being taken.

For more specific guidance, please visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.

Gyms and Fitness Centers   

As of July 16, gyms must limit the number of customers in each location to the following standards:

  • The maximum number of customers and/or patrons allowed in a facility shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the facility divided by 30 times 50%, whichever is greater, AND
  • The maximum number of customers allowed in any outdoor space or area shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the space or area divided by 30 times 50%, whichever is greater.
  • Fitness classes may convene with physical distancing requirements met, given the maximum number of customers allowed in the facility shall be limited to 35 or the result of the total square feet of the facility divided by 30 times 50%, whichever is greater.
  • Face coverings required for both staff and patrons in areas open to the public unless the person is playing a sport, exercising or using exercise equipment while exerting themselves.

Additional Guidance:   

  • Practice physical distancing of 6 feet in all areas (utilize signage/barriers and floor/seat markers to instruct customers to remain 6 feet apart).
  • Make hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes available throughout the facility.
  • Encourage the use of hand sanitizer (70% alcohol) or hand washing upon entering the facility for both customers and employees. 

Customers and employees should bring their own water or other drinks.Promote the use of self-serve check-in registers; clean and disinfect registers and client cards regularly.Post signage outside the entrances that states that any customer who has symptoms of COVID-19 should not enter.

For more specific guidance, visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.

Sports and Swimming Pools

As of July 16, sports courts/fields, playgrounds and swimming pools may operate with physical distancing requirements met, subject to the following:

The maximum number of customers and/or patrons allowed in the facility shall be limited to the result of the total square feet of the fixed seating spectator area divided by 30 times 50%, AND

No more than 25 people in coordinated stable, separated groups which do not mix with each other.

  • Swimming pool occupancy is limited to 50% of the bather load of the pool.
  • Outdoor sporting events and practices: Face coverings are required for spectators if physical distancing of 6 feet can’t be maintained.
  • Indoor sporting events and practices: Face coverings are required for spectators.
  • Umpires, referees, and coaches at not considered spectators and are not required to wear a face covering, but it is recommended.   

For more specific guidance, visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.  

What about group gatherings? Are those allowed?

As of Oct. 12, the City is permitting special events on public property using the below formula: Total square footage of the space or area in which the special event his held divided by 30 times 50% = Number of allowed participants. Example: 2,500 total square feet / 30 X .5 = 41 people.   

All providers of a special event shall require face coverings of staff, volunteers and participants, except while eating or drinking.

For more specific guidance, please visit the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.

Are government offices included in this new guidance?   

Government offices are not exempt from the new ordinance, however, most City and County facilities remain closed to the public with services available virtually. Visit springfieldmo.gov/coronavirusresponse for more information.

Are the City and County planning and preparing to assist businesses if one of their employees tests positive for COVID-19?

Businesses will be notified by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department if you have an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19.That employee will be required to be isolated until released by the Health Department. The Health Department will work with the employer to develop a list of other employees who may have had contact with the employee who tested positive. Any employee that met criteria for potential contact must quarantine at home for 14 days and will be contacted by the Health Department with more information. The Health Department is offering no-cost COVID-19 testing for essential workers who are not exhibiting symptoms to further study the spread of the disease in our community. The Health Department has dedicated 200 test kits to test essential workers who live or work in Greene County. This opportunity is for employees who have been working outside of their homes during the stay-at-home orders, such as grocery store employees, restaurant workers, or gas station clerks. Those who are interested in asymptomatic testing for essential workers can sign up by calling 417-874-1209. That line will be answered Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A separate physician referral will not be required.

Where can I find information about local coronavirus cases and guidance regarding masking?

On April 22, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced the availability of a COVID-19 recovery dashboard at health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus, which details the number of total cases, active cases, hospitalizations, recoveries and deaths from COVID-19 in Springfield-Greene County. The dashboard also scores local hospitals’ capability of caring for those with the disease, the Health Department’s capability of conducting epidemiological interviews and contact tracing services, and the community’s testing capability for COVID-19.

What is the penalty for not complying with the order?

A person who fails to wear a Face Covering when wearing a Face Covering is required by the ordinance shall be guilty of a violation of a municipal ordinance, punishable by a fine of $100.       

A person who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls a place at which wearing Face Coverings is required by the ordinance and who fails to comply or to require compliance will be guilty of a violation of a municipal ordinance, punishable by a $100 fine.   

If a person owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls a place and requires compliance to wear a Face Covering and a patron or customer refuses to wear a Face Covering, that person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls the place is not considered in violation.   

A person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls a place which violates the provisions of the ordinance aside from Face Covering requirements shall be guilty of a violation of a municipal ordinance and shall be punished as provided in Springfield City Code Section 1-7. 338 339. In addition to the fines established by this section, violation of this Article by a  person who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls a place at which wearing Face Coverings is required by this ordinance may result in the suspension or revocation of any permit or license issued to the person for the premises on which the violation occurred. Violation would be declared to be a public nuisance, which may be abated by the city manager by restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunction, or other means provided for by law, and the city may take action to recover the costs of the nuisance abatement.