City takes no action on mask ordinance

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners reviewed a draft of an ordinance that would require people to wear masks in public.

No action was taken during Tuesday’s meeting, which was a study session. And commissioners indicated they are not in favor of pursuing passage of the ordinance at this time.

However, commissioners noted the ordinance will be available if they feel they need to revisit it in the future.

“The work has been done,” Commissioner Mark Preisinger said. “The thing is available.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has issued an executive order requiring people to wear masks in public spaces. The order was issued to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Commissioners for Leavenworth County have voted to exempt the county from the mask requirement.

But commissioners for the city of Leavenworth have the authority to implement a mask requirement for the city.

Leavenworth Mayor Mike Griswold said city commissioners and City Manager Paul Kramer should continue to monitor COVID-19 data for the county.

“As we move forward, we will continue to evaluate all tools to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Griswold said.

He said this will include strategic communication to recommend people wear masks and encourage businesses to consider policies that require their customers to wear masks.

Griswold said county and city commissioners should analyze and discuss courses of action if things get dramatically worse.

City Commissioner Jermaine Wilson said he believes “each person has a right to make his or her own decision.”

Wilson said he encourages people to wear masks and practice social distancing in public.

“But I do not support mandating people to wear masks,” he said.

Preisinger said he does not believe the effectiveness of wearing masks as a mitigation tool for COVID-19 is up for debate at this point. Preisinger said he hopes residents will wear masks in public.

If the ordinance does come up for a vote in the future, Preisinger said his vote will be based on rational thought and not politics.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth City Commission:

• Received a presentation about a 2019 audit.

• Received a presentation about a comprehensive plan for the city.