Shawnee County Commission rejects Gov. Kelly’s mask order


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Shawnee County Commissioners rejected Gov. Laura Kelly’s mask order during their Thursday meeting.

Rules requiring masks have caused a lot of controversy across the country.

All three commissioners were in agreement that they wanted a plan more specific to the needs of Shawnee County rather than one handed down by the state.

“The mask order is one piece of how can we protect the citizens or how can we potentially protect the citizens of shawnee county,” commissioner Kevin Cook said.

The commissioners expressed their concerns with the order. They decided it was better to reject it and come up with a new one that’s tailored to the needs of the county.

“I personally don’t want to accept this and I don’t also want to do nothing,” commissioner Aaron Mays said. “I feel like we have to take some sort of action.”

Shawnee County Health Officer Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino told commissioners he strongly encourages the use of masks indoors when social distancing can’t be maintained.

“We need multiple layers of protection against this virus,” Pezzino said. “Masks are just one of those layers.”

Since the governor’s order was rejected, the county’s current rules regarding masks will stay in place for now. That means employees at restaurants, barber shops, salons and other personal service businesses must still wear a mask.

Shawnee County officials will work to come up with a new mask policy on Monday.

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