KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Unified Government Public Health Department issued a new Local Health Officer (LHO) order requiring the public to wear masks when in public, in order to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Wyandotte County.
The move comes in response to the continuing increase of COVID-19 cases in Wyandotte County, and only days after UGPHD officials extended the Phase 3 of the Ad Astra reopening plan in Wyandotte County until at least July 6.
“The seven-day rolling average of positive cases continues to be on the upswing,” Dr. Allen Greiner, Chief Medical Officer of the Unified Government Public Health Department, said. “This upswing coincides with the reopening of businesses and other venues as we try to get our community’s economy re-started after the shutdown earlier this year. One of the most important things the public can do to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is to wear masks in public. But for this effort to be effective, everyone must participate to protect the overall health of the entire community, not just their own health.”
The order goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30. The order requires the following:
- Individuals are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth when in a public, indoor space (including a workplace, business, or place of worship).
- Masks should be carefully positioned over the mouth and nose when it is put on, in a manner to avoid touching or readjusting the mask until it is removed.
- Masks are not required inside a solitary, enclosed workspace such as within an individual’s solitary office.
- Individuals are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth when in a public, outdoor space (except for socially distanced outdoor exercise).
- This includes all outdoor public gatherings such as bus stops, farmers markets, places of worship and restaurant bar or patio seating areas.
- Masks are not required when eating or drinking, but individuals should remain socially distanced and are required to wear a face mask before and following eating.
- Washing your hands is encouraged before taking masks off and prior to putting them back on.
- Individuals with medical conditions must wear a full face shield covering the mouth, nose and eyes as an alternative to a face mask (face shields have a piece of hard, clear plastic that sits in front of the face; these are often worn by healthcare workers in addition to other protective equipment)
There are exemptions for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, children younger than five years of age and people with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes, but not limited to, persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
As the order goes into effect, Public Health Officials and the Unified Government will provide additional details and guidance as well as community outreach and education efforts to both residents and local businesses.
The primary purpose of a mask is to protect others in case you may be carrying the virus – even if you don’t have symptoms. If we all wear masks, we are all helping protect one another, and especially protect those most vulnerable to serious illness.