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Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt Provides Legal Direction to Kansas City and Jackson County on Mask Mandates

Sep 2, 2021, 15:50 PM by AG Schmitt
While litigation over the mask mandates continues, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt today sent a letter to Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Jackson County Executive Frank White noting the exceptions to the City and County’s mask mandates, and providing “legal direction” to the public on these important exceptions, specifically for those with disabilities or those under the age of 18. This letter serves as “legal direction” to Kansas City and Jackson County on who qualifies for an exemption from the mask mandates.
 
“Both Kansas City’s and Jackson County’s mask mandate provides that ‘legal direction’ is an acceptable exception to the mandate. While our lawsuits against Kansas City and Jackson County continue, I sent this letter as ‘legal direction’ to Kansas City and Jackson County on who qualifies for important exceptions to mask mandates imposed by power-hungry bureaucrats,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “My Office will continue to fight these mask mandates in court.”
 
The letter begins with Section 3.B of the Kansas City mask mandate and Section 4(a) of the Jackson County mask mandate, which enumerate the exceptions to the mask mandate [emphases added]: Persons who have disabilities where face coverings or masks constitute a substantial impairment to their health and well-being based upon medical, behavioral, or legal direction.”
 
Moreover, Attorney General Schmitt’s letters state, “The new ordinance does not define the terms ‘disability,’ ‘substantial impairment to their health and well-being,’ or ‘legal direction.’ Missouri law provides meaningful guidance in this regard.” To clear up confusion in the ordinances as drafted, the Attorney General’s Office’s letter furnishes clear textual analysis in order to provide “legal direction” to Kansas City and Kansas Citians.  
 
The letter finishes with, “I direct that any resident or visitor subject to any physical or legal disability—including any minor under the age of 18—is exempt from the mask-wearing mandate under Section 3.B.2 of the ordinance, provided that he or she (or a parent or guardian, in the case of minors) believes that wearing a mask or face covering will have any significant adverse impact on their personal, mental, or physical welfare. It is also the legal direction of my office that face coverings or masks constitute ‘a substantial impairment to … health and well-being’ for minors, especially for young children, as medical studies have concluded.”
 
Attorney General Schmitt also provided both Kansas City and Jackson County with a Notice that lists exceptions to the mask mandate, which include:
  • You are in a private club or a place of public accommodation owned and operated on behalf of a religious corporation, association, or society;
  • You are under the age of 18;
  • You have a disability where a face covering or mask constitutes a substantial impairment to your health and well-being based upon medical, behavioral, or legal direction.  This includes that you believe wearing a face covering or mask will have a significant adverse impact on your personal, mental, or physical welfare;
  • You are in a restaurant or tavern actively consuming food or drink;
  • You are obtaining a service involving the nose or face when temporary removal of the face covering or mask is necessary to perform the service; or
  • You are alone in a separate room or office. 
The Attorney General’s Office filed suit against Kansas City and Jackson County in August.  The Attorney General’s Office also has requested information and documents from Kansas City and Jackson County through formal discovery requests. Those cases are ongoing.
 
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