Governor Laura Kelly’s planned order requiring Kansas residents to wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus could be toothless in many parts of the state because counties can exempt themselves.
Officials in some counties already are signalling that they planned to opt out of Kelly’s mandate.
The order, which Kelly is expected to issue ahead of it taking effect Friday, will make masks mandatory in stores, restaurants, and in any situation where social distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained, including outside.
In Shawnee county, the health officer issued an order closing bars at 10 p.m. starting Thursday.
Sedgwick County’s top medical official is recommending limits on restaurant occupancy and a ban on large sports tournaments.
The city of Manhattan is considering a mask requirement after outbreaks in its Aggieville bar and restaurant district.
Riley County Commissioner John Ford said most of the people who’ve reached out to him oppose a mandate.
In Russell County, Commissioner Don Boxberger said he has been getting calls from people not wanting a mask requirement.
The rural western Kansas county is one of eight in the state still without a reported coronavirus case.