July 2, 2020 McPherson County Commission Special Meeting
Regarding the action taken by the McPherson County Board of Commissioners to exempt
McPherson County from the Kansas Governor’s Executive Order #20-52 (Mandating face
coverings/masks in public)
Discussion points for opting out of the mandate:
The enforcement of the Executive Order is a civil, not criminal issue, meaning reports of
those in violation would be referred to the County Attorney’s office. This office does
not have the staffing or resources necessary to handle the influx of reports, as the
processing of the reports would inhibit valuable time and resources necessary for the
Court System and the County Attorney to prosecute actual criminal reports. Law
Enforcement would also not have sufficient staffing to be involved in the enforcement
of, or response to the influx of reporting calls.
911 personnel could be flooded with calls which would possibly tie up phone lines and
officers needed for other emergencies. Each mask related report/call would require
the dispatch of an officer, even though the officer could not issue a citation. This would
put a burden on law enforcement and they may not have the staffing to respond to
other emergency calls.
Individual businesses could require masks to be worn in order to enter, just as they may
already require shirts and shoes.
There is no funding provided from the state to fund counties for additional needs and
resources required to enforce the executive order.
Following discussion and input by several local residents, Shalei Shea, County Health
Department Director, and Greg Benefiel, County Attorney, the Commissioners
acknowledged that the data shows that mask wearing, along with other protective
measures does help prevent the spread of COVID-19, though due to the lack of ability to
enforce the mandate as is written, they would choose to opt out by signing County Resolution #2020-06.
The Commissioners strongly recommended that citizens continue to follow the
guidelines set forth by the McPherson County Health Department including the wearing
of masks when in public, social distancing, and other effective measures in order to help stop the spread of the virus.