Gov. Kelly: Mask mandate still in effect in Kansas

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Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 19:34:46-04

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — Gov. Laura Kelly and Johnson County officials are reminding residents the mask order remains in effect.

Kelly's original statewide emergency order was set to expire September 15. The State and Finance Council voted unanimously on September 11 to extend the order through October 15.

Executive Order No. 20-52, which requires masks or face coverings in public, was also extended with the Governor's emergency order.

Several rumors made their way around social media Tuesday about masks no longer being required.

Individual counties have the option to rescind the order.

Chairman of the Johnson County Board of Commission Ed Eilert said the Commission will discuss the order at Thursday's meeting.

"I do anticipate Thursday that there will be a motion to remove Johnson County from the governor's emergency order in regards to masking," Eilert said.

Shawnee Mission School District parent Linda Barber said she supports a mask mandate and hopes people will continue to wear them in the county no matter what the commission decides.

"I have a freshman and a senior, they miss that normal environment, and by wearing a mask I'm doing what I can to help them be able to return back into the classroom," Barber said.

Johnson County resident Laura Rozell said she hopes the commission votes to rescind the order.

"If people are ill and they have COVID I feel like they should wear a mask, but if you're healthy and you don't have COVID or you're an athlete and you're running and exercising it shouldn't be mandated," Rozell said.

During Tuesday's University of Kansas Health System briefing, Dr. Dana Hawkinson spoke about the evidence that mask-wearing is effective.

"I am not aware of any references or publications that say not wearing a mask actually improves your health and protects you from COVID," Hawkinson said. "We know that that has a positive effect on decreasing the spread, decreasing hospitalizations and decreasing death."

Eilert said he anticipates county healthy officials will be at Thursday's meeting to discuss the evidence behind mask-wearing.