Kansas to launch pro-mask campaign, but some officials are skeptical

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas is preparing to launch a media campaign aimed at getting more of its residents to wear masks so that the coronavirus doesn’t keep spreading rapidly. Some officials are skeptical that it will move the needle much.  

A mask mandate from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is set to take effect Wednesday, but Kansas law allows the state’s 105 counties to opt out. The state has set aside $1.5 million for television, radio, print and social media ads promoting masks that are set to start before Thanksgiving.

But some officials worry that politics are driving resistance to masks and others suggest that people already are bombarded with pro-mask messages.

Governor Kelly sat down on Wednesday with FOX4’s John Holt and The Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling to break down the new order and the rationale behind it.

The new executive order gives Kansas counties a choice: create their own face mask order in the next week or they’ll be automatically opted in to Kelly’s new mandate.

The Democratic governor already issued a statewide mask mandate in July, but state law allowed the 105 counties in Kansas to opt out — and most did. Now, under Kelly’s new order, she’s giving counties that still don’t have a policy on face masks another chance.

She said the state’s mask order is not unprecedented, but how they’re approaching it — by giving counties time to make their own adjustments — is unique, in her opinion.

The new order does not apply to counties that are already enforcing Kelly’s initial mask mandate, such as Johnson and Wyandotte counties, or to other counties that have since enacted their own mask order for public spaces.

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