County to consider opting out of new state order

John Richmeier

Leavenworth County commissioners likely will discuss next week whether to exempt the county from a new mask mandate issued by the governor.

County commissioners voted in July to opt out of a statewide mask mandate issued by Gov. Laura Kelly.

Commissioners approved a resolution that recommends people wear masks to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. But the resolution does not make the wearing of masks in public spaces mandatory in Leavenworth County.

On Wednesday, Kelly issued a new mask mandate through an executive order. The new mandate, which will go into effect Nov. 25, will apply to counties in Kansas that opted out of the governor’s earlier order.

County commissioners have the option of opting out of the new order as well.

Commissioners will meet the morning of Nov. 25 for their regular weekly meeting.

Commissioner Mike Stieben said he talked with the county administrator about taking up the governor’s new mandate during next week’s meeting.

“That’s going to be on the agenda,” Stieben said.

Stieben said he anticipates commissioners will probably continue to recommend people wear masks but not make it mandatory.

“I don’t expect the status quo will change at all,” he said.

When commissioners met earlier this week, Commissioner Vicky Kaaz made a motion to rescind the resolution that exempted the county from the governor’s earlier mask order.

The motion failed because no other commissioner provided a second.

On Thursday, Leavenworth city commissioners approved a mask order for the city. This order will not impact the rest of the county.

The city’s order will remain in effect in the city of Leavenworth even if the county is exempted from the governor’s new order.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR