Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has issued a statewide mask mandate that will go into effect starting on Nov. 25 in the hopes to slow the spread of COVID-19, as the state reported another seven-day increase in cases.
Residents of the state will be required to wear masks in public spaces, in line for transportation, and outdoors when it’s not possible to social distance, Kelly announced Wednesday in a COVID-19 briefing. Certain exemptions are in the order including children under five and those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. (RELATED: Feinstein, Who Pushed For Nationwide Mask Mandate, Seen Maskless In Public)
“As COVID-19 continues to spread through Kansas communities and hospitalizations increase at concerning rates, it is clear we must take action to protect our communities and our economy,” Kelly said. “Today’s actions are a bipartisan package of recommendations from legislators, health professionals, and business leaders to increase participation in commonsense COVID-19 prevention practices.”
The news of the mandate comes as the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported on Wednesday more than 5,800 new cases, 60 additional deaths and 130 hospitalizations from the virus. The total number of recorded COVID-19 cases in the state is 128,594.
Kelly first imposed a mask mandate on July 2, but counties had the option of opting out of the order if they wanted based on state law. This time, these counties have a week to provide an alternative to the new mandate, the governor said.
“My administration recognizes that each Kansas county is faced with unique challenges – and a one-size-fits-all approach can be difficult for some communities to navigate,” Kelly said. “The order allows local officials one week to craft and implement their own version of a face covering ordinance that works for them and their communities.