By Jessie Wagoner
If you cannot maintain a social distance of six feet, it is now mandated masks must be worn in the city of McPherson.
The McPherson City Commission voted unanimously to approve a mask mandate for the city during their regularly scheduled commission meeting, Monday. The mask mandate was enacted due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the county. As of press time, the McPherson County Health Department reports 123 total cases of COVID-19. Of those, 100 have met recovery guidelines and 23 are currently recovering at home.
The mask ordinance does require masks be worn in public places when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. The following individuals are exempted from the ordinance:
- Persons age five years or under – children age two years and under in particular should not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation;
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering – this includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;
- Persons who are hearing-impaired or communicating with a person who is hearing-impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
- Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;
- Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
- Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided they maintain six feet of distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together or are seated together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;
- Athletes who are engaged in an organized sports activity that allows athletes to maintain six feet of distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;
- Persons who are engaged in an activity that a professional or recreational association, regulatory entity, medical association or other public-health-oriented entity has determined cannot be safely conducted while wearing a mask or other face covering;
- Persons engaged in a court-related proceeding held or managed by the Kansas Judiciary; and
- Persons engaged in any lawful activity during which wearing a mask or other face covering is prohibited by law.
- Persons engaged in religious activities protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution including, but not limit to worship services; however, religious institutions are strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing, appropriate hygiene precautions and mask wearing.
- Persons at the McPherson Water Park, so long as protocols announced by the Water Park from time to time are maintained. Masks shall be worn in line awaiting entry to the facility.
An infraction of the mask ordinance will result in a fine of $10 per occurrence. Court costs will not be assessed. Any funds accrued from the fines will be deposited in the city general fund to be used at the discretion of the governing body.
The ordinance will remain in effect until Sept. 9, 2020.