Starting Monday, March 22, COVID-19 Health Orders in Shawnee County will become just recommendations. Shawnee County Commissioners made the move on a 2-1 vote Thursday, with commission chair Kevin Cook voting against the decision.
The changes going into effect Monday will lift measures that have been in place for the majority of the pandemic. Health orders are still required for county buildings and property.
The health order and mask mandate were voted on separately. Commissioner Bill Riphahn made a motion to repeal the mask mandate, but the motion was not seconded by commissioners Kevin Cook or Aaron Mays.
Another motion, to end the mask mandate April 16 at 12:01 a.m., passed 3-0.
Riphahn indicated he believes it’s time to give people a choice concerning health orders and recommendations. Though Mays and Cook did not agree, many public speakers were upset that the mask mandate was not repealed.
The updated health order approved by commissioners a week ago, issued by Shawnee County health officer Dr. Erin Locke, lifted operating hours restrictions and raised gathering sizes, limiting mass gatherings to 25 people.
Locke had recommended no current changes should be made to health orders or mask mandates.
The commissioners made their vote after being presented with a new county health “scorecard,” showing the new COVID-19 community indicator score of two.
The state of Kansas will also enter into Phase 3 and 4 of its vaccination plan on Monday.
–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice
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