Despite new state order, Miami County commissioners still not in favor of mask mandate

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MIAMI COUNTY, Kan. — Kansas counties that initially opted out of Gov. Laura Kelly’s first mask mandate in July are now forced to revisit the decision again.

Kelly is pushing dozens of counties, including some here in the Kansas City region, to reconsider and create their own face mask guidelines or adopt her new statewide mask mandate introduced Wednesday.

Counties have one week to make their own mask rules or they will automatically opt into the governor’s order. But there’s technically a third option: The same state law that allowed counties to opt out this summer still applies today.

That’s the decision Miami County, along with 64 other Kansas counties, will have to make. In Louisburg, masks are “strongly encouraged” but not enforced right now.

But as coronavirus cases climb, even though mask wearing isn’t mandatory, many people told FOX4 on Wednesday they’re choosing to protect themselves.

“It’s a habit. It’s not hard at all. It doesn’t make any sense to me for people to dig in their heels when it’s such a simple thing and will bring the COVID rate down,” said Robin Hixson who lives in Louisburg.

“I see a lot of people not wearing it. I know people personally who don’t wear it. If we are going to stop this once and for all, we need to wear it,” Michael Pobuda said.

In a statement to FOX4, Miami County Administrator Shane Kroll said:

“The county commission believes that people should use their personal responsibility in using PPE and making those decisions. Every city in the county (Spring Hill, Oswatomie and Paola) have mask mandates at the municipal level. Louisburg is the only city in the county without a mandate. County commission will review the Governor’s mandate and make a determination at a future date.”

But Miami County Commissioner Rob Roberts said they have no plans of following the recommended mandate, though the use of masks is recommended.

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