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Posted on: July 8, 2020

McPherson County Mask Exemption Info

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.

Link to Exemption Statement
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