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City Attorney Christina Montgomery (at podium) discusses a new citywide mask mandate with commissioners Wednesday evening.

City commissioners voted to extend Emporia’s mask mandate until Dec. 22 with added language matching Lyon County’s recently-passed public health order during joint study and action sessions Wednesday evening.

City Attorney Christina Montgomery recommended the additions so as to better promote “uniformity” and “collective understanding” of health requirements throughout the area, saying the county’s updated order included stricter language in some areas.

The majority of changes included in Wednesday’s new mask mandate involved details on social distancing.

“Under the City’s [current] order, the City required people inside an indoor public space [to] wear a mask if they could not maintain six feet of social distance,” Montgomery said. “[The county order] states that any time you are inside or in line to enter an indoor public space, a mask is required... It removes that six feet of social distancing provision.

“Our exemptions were almost identical to the county’s exemptions [in the first place] for persons five and younger, people with medical conditions, etc.”

Montgomery additionally informed commissioners that Emporia would fall under any orders currently in effect through the county should they allow the city’s mask mandate to expire, causing some to recommend the continuation of monthly reviews on the matter. At this time, Lyon County’s new public health order is set to run through Jan. 14 unless modified.

“If we were to let [the mask mandate] expire, and we just went with the county, we can’t really predict what the county is going to do,” Commissioner Susan Brinkman said. “We’re just a city within the county. Four weeks from now, [the county] may choose to let [their order] roll off in the best interest of all their citizenry, not just our community. Then, we would have to start this process all over again. I’d rather not abdicate our public health of Emporians to just the county commission.”

Wednesday’s vote came after commissioners received the latest case information from Public Health Emergency Preparedness Director Jennifer Millbern, who recommended extreme caution over the next few weeks.

With staffing issues already forcing the stoppage of local contact tracing services, Millbern said she was seeing an increased trend in delayed COVID-19 tests results, as well, with response time now ranging anywhere between four to as many as nine days.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Millbern said. “That’s where we’re heading. That’s all indications.”

In closing the discussion, Commissioner Rob Gilligan encouraged community members to take recent trends seriously, stating it would take an effort on the part of all individuals to see positive change in case metrics.

“Hopefully, we’ll start seeing a downward trend by mid-December,” Gilligan said. “That comes with the community responding appropriately by wearing a mask and socially distancing and not continuing to have gatherings.”

A full copy of Lyon County’s current health order can be viewed online at lyoncounty.org/index/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Public-Health-Order-11-6-2020.pdf.

During the meetings, commissioners also:

Approved a maintenance agreement with the Emporia Public Library for 2021 in the amount of $39,550.20

Approved a new contract with Emporia Main Street allowing the city one voting board appointment and an additional non-voting ex officio member as designated by the City Manager

(12) comments

Aim_High

Caveat emptor? Lol, nice cop out Watchman. Can't argue with facts.

WatchmanAnon

More mandates = more covid cases.

Proven over and over.

nmaus

Some of the claims you make are just WILD! The CDC published a report on Oct. 9th titled "Trends in COVID-19 Incidence After Implementation Measures". They found cases stabilized and decreased after mandates were implemented. You could have made your argument in the spring, before we had clear evidence of the effects of masks. But those kind of claims, in present day, are just ignorant.

WatchmanAnon

What is "clear" is that the advisors keep changing the goal posts. What is "clear" is that people believe what they're being told rather than believing what they see.

You're being trained to accept a narrative without questioning it.

Good citizen, good boy. (Tail wag. Pat on the head)

I don't submit to that indoctrination of Orwellian Right Think.

Why subject yourself to advisors who clearly don't really know what is going on? They have yet to demonstrate anything except their hubris that they should be viewed as the Grand Poobahs of safety. Well, do you feel safer today with their advisement? Are you healthier today than you were a year ago? Do you believe that the one thing that separates you from certain death is a cloth mask?

What is the survivability rate of people with C19?

Really look at the numbers. Once someone is tested positive then how does a mask help? And yet people survive.

I wish this kind of effort and money was put toward finding cures for diseases with significantly higher mortality rates like cancer, heart disease, diabetes. Where's the vaccine for those diseases that have killed millions worldwide? Where's the advisement from the Grand Poobahs about behaviors the public can adjust to help prevent those diseases? Or is an 8x11 flyer taped to a hospital wall all the advisement needed to help prevent those more deadly, more costly diseases?

Cases are spiking after the city-wide mask mandate and spiking further after the county-wide mask mandate.

It is troubling that you and others dismiss what is staring at us from the data. What are you gaining from ignoring what your eyes are telling you?

If you ignore the obvious,does that make it go away? If you squeeze your eyes shut really tightly, does the boogeyman disappear?

You're a romantic making assumptions.

I'm a realist.

Aim_High

If you were a realist you wouldn't still be holding out hope for a Trump victory. The reality is you bend facts to fit your opinions. Sad.

nmaus

Bro, you're asking a lot of questions that are addressed in the report. Did you even read it? Look at how long your response is, and its just nonsense. Worse than nonsense, its wrong and dangerous. Why wear a mask after you're infected? For other people, babe. You don't have evidence of what your spouting. So, I'm gonna believe the doctors and scientists, who's recommendations by the way, are in line with common sense and courtesy for other people. You're the sheep. Get out of your echo chamber. Read different books.

WatchmanAnon

So questioning a narrative is dangerous?

So self-professed "experts" cannot be challenged?

So the State knows better than you?

If that's the case, if the State knows best, then you have no authority and no right or claim to an opinion. Put your head down and get in lockstep with the State. Don't worry yourselves with those of us who challenge the State. The State is your ultimate authority not mine. So get back in line. Unless you're a paid mouthpiece for the State then don't bother your little self with me.

Let the State prove to me what they have yet to prove. You have no role with me. Go on with your lockstep.

Amuse yourself with the thought that the State will "handle" us dissenters eventually.

Leave us Winstons to ourselves. It's our choice to push back.

But you? Get back in line and wag your tail.

Aim_High

twatchman,

Covid survivability rates vary wildly from city to city and state to state, but on a worldwide level, 41.3 million people have caught the virus and 1.3 million have died, giving us a death rate of 3.31 percent, or 1 in 30. In the USA, 12.1 million have caught the virus, and 260k have died, giving us a death rate of 2.1% or 1 in 50. So "survivability" is somewhere between 96.7% and 97.9%...

These are the numbers a "realist" would go by, but please go ahead and tell us about the "real" 99.999% numbers some obscure website told you about 6 months ago...

WatchmanAnon

Caveat emptor

CitizenV

How nice they are all wearing their face diapies in this picture. Well never too late to virtue signal i guess.

nmaus

Listen cuzzy, you whine when they don't wear masks, and now you whine when they do wear masks. No one wants to hear it, babe. You contribute nothing. And make no mistake, we get you're a MAGA 2020 trumptard, but whining about everything makes YOU the snowflake. We need a wall around people like you- to keep the noise down.

Rationa1

Good on the Commission. Thank you!

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