Ozark Board of Alderman mask debate Aug. 10, 2020

THE OZARK BOARD OF ALDERMEN held a special meeting at the Ozark Community Center on Aug. 10, in order to accommodate more than 30 speakers while adhering to social distancing guidelines. From left: Alderman R.J. Flores, Alderman Bruce Galloway, Mayor Rick Gardner, Alderman Nathan Posten and Alderman Jason Shaffer.

Alderman Jason Shaffer’s refusal to vote means Ozark residents will not be required to wear masks in public places.

After more than an hour and a half of debate, Shaffer abstained from voting on a bill that would have required face mask use in certain public settings. Aldermen Nathan Posten, Heather Alder, and Bruce Galloway voted for the bill.

The vote came up on Aug. 17, as the Ozark Board of Aldermen met in a mixed format at the Ozark Community Center and on the Zoom teleconferencing platform. The vote also followed a four-hour public hearing conducted on Aug. 10.

R.J. Flores and Ted Smith voted, “No,” and Shaffer abstained.

“I think that’s a shame to put so much attention on masks when there are other things that we should be paying attention to, and we don’t care about that now. All we care about is masks,” Flores said.

Had Shaffer voted in opposition, which appeared to be his intent up until the vote, it would have created a 3-3 tie and put a tying vote into the hands of Mayor Rick Gardner.

“If this had been a tie, I would have voted against it, because I agree with R.J. that the bill is flawed,” Gardner said. “There is too much inconsistent studies of effectiveness of masks that say—I mean, our definition of a face covering is just not adequate.”

Posten saw the bill as a way to be responsive to what is happening in Ozark.

“We should have done this a month ago, guys. A month ago. On March 12, the president of the United States issued an emergency declaration, there were 1,645 cases of COVID in the United States,” Posten said.

As of Aug. 17, Missouri had 68,623 cases and 1,396 deaths attributed to COVID-19. One Christian County resident, a 69-year-old woman from Highlandville, died. That was one death too many in Posten’s mind.

“I am not in a position where I’m going to throw up my hands and say, ‘I’m done, come and take me,' I’m going to fight for this community and I’ve going to push back against this disease any way I can,” Posten said.

Shaffer has opposed local government orders making masks a requirement from the onset.

“With great power comes great responsibility. We have to look at this and take it carefully,” Shaffer said. “If someone can come to me and show me that masks will save a lot of lives, yeah, I’m on it. If there is a demonstration of evidence that (COVID-19) a great threat to our community, that also comes into play.”

However, Shaffer said that the experts failed to provide sufficient evidence that masks were helpful in fighting in the spread of COVID-19.

“To me, that seems to cause more trouble by getting people overconfident that these masks are going to protect them from the disease,” Shaffer said.

(3) comments

Web Freeman

How much evidence does the board need? Here are 19 studies from medical journals from around the world showing that masks help prevent the spread of COVID. All these come from the CDC's web site that encourages the wearing of masks. That article is found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html

Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany. The New England journal of medicine. 2020;382(10):970-971. PMID: 32003551external icon

Zou L, Ruan F, Huang M, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients. The New England journal of medicine. 2020;382(12):1177-1179. PMID: 32074444external icon

Pan X, Chen D, Xia Y, et al. Asymptomatic cases in a family cluster with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Lancet Infectious diseases. 2020. PMID: 32087116external icon

Bai Y, Yao L, Wei T, et al. Presumed Asymptomatic Carrier Transmission of COVID-19. Jama. 2020. PMID: 32083643external icon

Kimball A HK, Arons M, et al. Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility — King County, Washington, March 2020. MMWR Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2020; ePub: 27 March 2020. PMID: 32240128external icon

Wei WE LZ, Chiew CJ, Yong SE, Toh MP, Lee VJ. Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 — Singapore, January 23–March 16, 2020. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2020;ePub: 1 April 2020. PMID: 32271722external icon

Li R, Pei S, Chen B, et al. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). Science (New York, NY). 2020. PMID: 32179701external icon

Furukawa NW, Brooks JT, Sobel J. Evidence Supporting Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 While Presymptomatic or Asymptomatic [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 4]. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(7):10.3201/eid2607.201595. Link

Oran DP, Topol Prevalence of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Narrative Review [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 3]. Ann Intern Med. 2020;M20-3012. PMID: 32491919external icon

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Rapid Expert Consultation on the Possibility of Bioaerosol Spread of SARS-CoV-2 for the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 1, 2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25769external icon.

Schwartz KL, Murti M, Finkelstein M, et al. Lack of COVID-19 transmission on an international flight. CMAJ. 2020;192(15):E410. PMID: 32392504external icon

Anfinrud P, Stadnytskyi V, Bax CE, Bax A. Visualizing Speech-Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering. N Engl J Med. 2020 Apr 15. doi:10.1056/NEJMc2007800. PMID: 32294341external icon

Davies A, Thompson KA, Giri K, Kafatos G, Walker J, Bennett A. Testing the efficacy of homemade masks: would they protect in an influenza pandemic? Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2013;7(4):413-8. PMID: 24229526external icon

Konda A, Prakash A, Moss GA, Schmoldt M, Grant GD, Guha S. Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks. ACS Nano. 2020 Apr 24. PMID: 32329337external icon

Aydin O, Emon B, Saif MTA. Performance of fabrics for home-made masks against spread of respiratory infection through droplets: a quantitative mechanistic study. medRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.19.20071779, posted April 24, 2020.

Ma QX, Shan H, Zhang HL, Li GM, Yang RM, Chen JM. Potential utilities of mask-wearing and instant hand hygiene for fighting SARS-CoV-2. J Med Virol. 2020. PMID: 32232986external icon

Leung, N.H.L., Chu, D.K.W., Shiu, E.Y.C. et al.Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks. Nat Med. 2020. PMID: 32371934external icon

Johnson DF, Druce JD, Birch C, Grayson ML. A quantitative assessment of the efficacy of surgical and N95 masks to filter influenza virus in patients with acute influenza infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Jul 15;49(2):275-7. PMID: 19522650external icon

Green CF, Davidson CS, Panlilio AL, et al. Effectiveness of selected surgical masks in arresting vegetative cells and endospores when worn by simulated contagious patients. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012;33(5):487‐494. PMID: 22476275external icon

Jim Miner

Thank you for posting all these studies. It is truly appalling that grown men aren't capable of rational thought. What will it take to get local, state and federal leaders to understand that masks slow down the spread of covid-19. Those on this council who voted against the mask ordinance reveal an extraordinary ability to stick their heads in the sand and ignore a clearly defined threat to our community. Shame on them and may God forgive them if their collective ignorance cause any more deaths.


Thank you for the links and information. Sadly these hicks and bumpkins don't want to be educated. If they did they would do something other than say , golly we just aren't convinced. Hopefully the backward town of Ozark will be able to retain it's backwards and uneducated ways without suffering widespread illness. It didn't really work for Joplin, but they probably haven't heard that story either, because that would take effort.

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