Mask mandate begins in Johnson County

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — Johnson County is following the footsteps of many other places requiring people to wear a face covering while in public.

The new mandate went into effect Friday, one day after the Johnson County Board of Commissioners adopted the state mask mandate during a special meeting.

Just about everywhere you looked at the Shops at Prairie Village, people were covered.

“I think it’s long overdue,” said shopper at J.B. Strong. “I’ve got quite a few washable masks, and I jut wear one every time I go somewhere where I can’t maintain a safe distance.”

Mandated masks in public is a move many other places are implementing as coronavirus cases spike throughout the state of Kansas and many areas throughout the country.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 929 new cases have been added since Wednesday. This is reportedly the worst jump in cases Kansas has seen since the pandemic began in March.

The total number of cases is nearly 16,000, with 277 deaths.

“We gotta do what we gotta do. We have to roll with the punches,” said the owner of RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack, Bob Palmgren.

Palmgren says he is fortunate for carry-out success at his restaurant, but he worries that the mask mandate will cause dine-in business to drop.

“We have masks if they need a mask but once they sit down, they can drink and eat,” said Palmgren.

During the first day of the mask mandate, Palmgren remained busy.

Longtime and faithful customer at RJ’s, Nick Marion says the mask requirement may be a minor inconvenience, but a big way to keep everyone safe.

“I was considered essential, so I never stopped working, so I feel like it’s also my duty to wear a mask for everyone else’s protection as well,” said Marion. “I’m a frequent member here, you can ask Bob.”

A date for the mask mandate to expire has not been set.

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