Douglas County joins others, making face masks mandatory in public starting July 1

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Douglas County has followed the Kansas City metro’s lead and is implementing a mask mandate, beginning July 1. 

People in Douglas County will be required to wear face masks in all indoor public spaces where keeping six feet of separation isn’t possible. This includes areas like businesses, workplaces, community centers, libraries and more. 

“Unfortunately, we have seen a steady increase of cases in recent weeks, including localized outbreaks and more than 30 new cases over the past weekend — numbers we had not experienced locally during the pandemic,” Local Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino said in a statement.

“Wearing masks and cloth face coverings is based on sound science that shows this practice will help slow the spread and decrease the transmission of COVID-19.”

Like other nearby counties, there are some exceptions to the order. 

For example, at workplaces, masks aren’t required in solitary spaces, like an individual’s office, the county health department said. 

Additionally, the following people are exempt from wearing masks in Douglas County: 

  • People who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Children younger than five years old.
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents
    wearing a face covering.

Douglas County has not set any end date to its face mask order at this time. 

Residents who need a face mask for personal use can submit via this form, and the United Way of Douglas County will try to provide you with one.

Anyone with questions about compliance of a public health order can email
phorders@ldchealth.org, where health department staff will follow up on specific complaints.

Other communities with mask requirements

Kansas City was the first municipality in the Kansas City region to make face masks a requirement. The order was announced Friday and went into effect Monday, June 29. 

Kansas City’s order says people must wear a mask inside public areas or while performing an activity requiring close contact to co-workers or the public where 6 feet social distancing isn’t feasible.

There are some exceptions to the mask mandate in Kansas City: 

  • Minors, though the CDC and the Kansas City Health Department urge children over the age of 2 to wear a mask.
  • People who have disabilities that prevent them from comfortably wearing or taking off face coverings or communicating while wearing one.
  • People who have respiratory conditions or breathing trouble.
  • People who have been told by a medical, legal or behavioral health professional not to wear face coverings.
  • People who are seated in a restaurant or tavern while actively engaged in eating or drinking — and are socially distanced from others.

The order for Kansas City is in effect through July 12.

Wyandotte County has also issued a face mask order, which was announced Saturday and goes into effect Tuesday, June 30. 

The main difference is that Wyandotte County is requiring masks at indoor and outdoor public spaces — except for socially distanced outdoor exercise. 

The order applies to workplaces, businesses and places of worship but also bus stops, farmers markets and bar/restaurant outdoor seating before and after eating. 

People with medical conditions should wear a full face shield covering the mouth, nose and eyes as an alternative. 

There are exemptions in Wyandotte County for the following people: 

  • Those who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Children younger than five years of age
  • People with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering

The county did not provide any specific end date for its mask mandate. 

Finally, on Monday morning, Jackson County followed suit and announced a face mask order, also set to begin July 1. 

The county health department said everyone inside public buildings must wear a face covering — but the mask order extends to public outdoor settings, as well. 

Jackson County is expected to release more details about its mask order later Monday.

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