Leavenworth mask order to expire at midnight

Lansing ordinance extended

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The city of Leavenworth’s mask order is set to expire at the end of today.

The order, which requires people to wear face coverings in public spaces, was first approved by the Leavenworth City Commission during a Nov. 19 special meeting.

Commissioners voted Jan. 26 to extend the mask order by approving a new ordinance. At that time, the ordinance was set to expire at the end of March.

Earlier this month, commissioners discussed whether to extend the order again. No vote was taken, but a majority of commissioners voiced support for allowing the ordinance to expire with no further action.

The ordinance was put in place in an effort to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

When discussing the mask ordinance March 16, Mayor Nancy Bauder noted the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate had decreased since the order was put in place. She also noted that the number of people in the community who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 continues to increase.

Maj. Dan Nicodemus, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department, said Leavenworth police officers have issued only one citation for a violation of the city’s mask ordinance.

Once the ordinance is expired, business owners will still have the ability to require customers to wear masks. Nicodemus said business managers can ask a person to leave if he or she refuses to wear a mask. If the person refuses to leave, police can respond for a trespassing complaint.

“The mask wouldn’t be the issue,” he said. “It would be a trespassing issue.”

There is no countywide mask order in Leavenworth County.

County commissioners have voted to opt the county out of a mask mandate issued by the governor.

In addition to Leavenworth, the cities of Lansing and Tonganoxie have issued mask ordinances.

While Leavenworth’s ordinance is expiring, Lansing’s mask order is being extended through April 30.

Lansing City Council members voted last week to extend the order by approving a new ordinance.

At the time of last week’s vote, Lansing City Attorney Greg Robinson said a change in a state law may prevent the city from piggybacking on the governor’s mask order in the future.

When they meet Thursday, Lansing City Council members are scheduled to consider another mask ordinance that is written to be in compliance with a new state law.

The new Lansing ordinance also would extend the city’s mask order through April 30.

The ordinance allows for several exemptions to the mask requirement including exemptions for children who are 5 or younger and people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing face coverings.

Thursday’s meeting will mark the first time in several months that members of the public will be allowed to attend a Lansing City Council meeting.

City Council meetings have been closed to the public because of concerns about COVID-19, but people have been able to watch the meetings online.

People who violate Lansing’s mask order can be charged a $5 fine and $20 in court costs for the first conviction, a $10 fine and $30 in court costs for the second violation and a $20 fine and $40 in court costs for all subsequent convictions.

Lansing Police Chief Steve Wayman said Lansing officers have not issued any citations for violation of the city’s mask order.

“We have no desire to write people citations for the mask ordinance,” Wayman said.

But he said police do ask people to follow the ordinance.

Wayman said Lansing officers have responded to complaints about employees at businesses not wearing masks, but the matters were resolved without written citations.

Tonganoxie’s mask order is scheduled to remain in place through at least April 14.

Fort Leavenworth also has a mask requirement.

Fort spokesman Jeff Wingo said there are discussions about when the mask requirement may be lifted but no determination has been made.

The fort also remains closed to visitors because of concerns about COVID-19, Wingo said.

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