Last week the Emporia City Commission extended the citywide mask mandate through Nov. 21. While only affecting the City of Emporia, the decision is a sound one and I applaud our commissioners for keeping the mandate in place.
But, after our story went up online, I noticed some comments about how some larger businesses were no longer requiring masks so why bother?
That is a dangerous attitude to take at a time when COVID-19 cases throughout the state continue to rise at an exponential rate as we head into flu season. Yes, we are still seeing increases in COVID-19 in the community, but as more people have started wearing masks in public spaces the evidence is pretty clear.
The masks are working in the places where people are using them.
So, it’s no surprise that Gov. Laura Kelly is once again bringing up the need for a statewide mask mandate, hoping to get enough bipartisan support to make it enforceable.
According to the White House COVID situation report, Kansas remains firmly in the red zone. If it’s not clear what that means, it’s not good. It means we are seeing uncontrolled spread — especially in rural counties that opted out of Kelly’s initial mandate. That’s more than 90 of the state’s 105 counties. That’s why Kelly said last week that she plans to speak with House and Senate leadership to work toward a bipartisan mask requirement with more teeth.
Sen. Susan Wagle has already voiced opposition, but Sen. Majority Leader. Jim Denning has said he would be happy to open a dialogue with the governor about it. Denning said a mandate would be preferable to having to shutdown businesses again.
And I think, regardless of where your politics lie or your personal thoughts on masks, that is something on which we can all agree.
So, if you want our businesses to stay open and you want our schools to remain open, please, wear your masks.
If my 6-year-old can get through a whole day of school in one, so can you.
News and Online Editor