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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Children as young as 2 years old are required to mask up in Lawrence and other areas in Douglas county.

County Commissioners approved a plan Wednesday that requires children age 2 to 11 to wear face masks while indoors, especially while in a school setting.

The new order took effect as soon as commissioners passed it Wednesday.

Dozens of people emailed and commented during the meeting.

Ultimately commissioners decided to side with health leaders in Douglas County. They determined the mask mandate was needed because of the continue increase of new COVID-19 cases across the county.

Masks are required for children age 2 to 11 in the following situations:

  • Inside, or in line to enter, any indoor public space
  • While at a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank (unless directed otherwise by an employee or healthcare provider)
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, school bus, or ride-sharing vehicle

There are exceptions to the mask order, including children who have medical conditions that prevents them from wearing a mask. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who are communicating with someone who is are not required to wear masks.

Masks are not required when involved in a religious service or activity or if they are seated at a restaurant and eating or drinking.

The order will remain in place until at least 11:59 p.m. on September 22, unless commissioners rescind or modify the order.