Riley County lifting all COVID restrictions except mask mandate


Editor’s note: This story originally reported Manhattan is lifting all COVID-19 restrictions except a mask mandate. Manhattan is in Riley County, and the county health department lifted the restrictions.

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Effective March 1, the Riley County Health Department said it will rescind all COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in the area except a mask mandate.

To do so, Riley County Health Officer Julie Gibbs announced Wednesday night she is issuing a new health order, Health Order No. 20. The latest order mandates that masks and face coverings must still be worn in any public space in the county.

The Health Order defines a public space as any indoor or outdoor space or area that is open to the public. This definition does not include private residential property or private offices and workspaces that are not open to customers or public visitors.

Masks are also not required in outdoor public spaces if a distance of six feet can be maintained.

Health Order No. 20 eliminates restrictions on restaurants and bars that previously had to close at midnight and limited the number of seated customers. The new order also removes the mass gathering limit of 50 people and gets rid of the event request process.

“This decision was made after looking at several factors. For the past four weeks, the number of cases has continued to decline and we have not seen any new outbreaks. Additionally, there is minimal strain on local and regional health structures. We’ve also been able to ramp up our vaccination efforts”, explained Julie Gibbs, Director of Riley County Health Department.  

The Emergency Operations Center’s Command Staff created criteria to determine when and how limitations would be relaxed. That list includes:

  • Riley County percent positive under 7% for 4 weeks 
  • Hospital and healthcare system not overwhelmed
  • Riley County maintains less than 5 active outbreaks for 6 weeks
  • Declining trends in percent positives

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