Authorities say enforcing Kansas mandatory mask ordinance will be difficult

Joplin Area Coronavirus

KANSAS — In Kansas, a new mandatory mask ordinance goes into effect on Friday, however local authorities are saying enforcing that ordinance will be difficult.

Sydney Spatafora, Columbus Resident, said, “I wouldn’t be opposed to wearing a mask everyday and the amount of interaction I have with people is a lot and I would be comfortable wearing one.”

Kansas residents like Sydney Spatafora aren’t opposed to new legislation proposed by Governor Laura Kelly.

Under a new order, a mask will need to be worn in all public settings statewide.

Sheriff David Groves, Cherokee County, said, “Now it’s still a little too early to tell how it will apply to residents here in Cherokee county or in southeast Kansas.”

The topic has become polarizing, as some feel wearing a mask should be an induvidual decision.

Sheriff Groves compares it to wearing a seatbelt–a decision many didn’t agree with years ago.

“The intention is to help keep people safe. And so, whether that’s forcing somebody to do something with the mandate or just strongly encouraging it, what we really want is for our community to be safe.”

But this situation is a little different–not too much guidance has been given on what reprecussions may lie for those who choose to go without a mask.

And without that information, there isn’t too much law enforcement can do if someone doesn’t wear one.

“Really, there’s no role for law enforcement to play, it becomes a civil violation and law enforcement deals with criminal violations, not civil.”

Until that information becomes available, it’s all a waiting game.

Sheriff Groves urges the community to wait and see what happens, the new order may not be as restrictive as they think.

“Let’s wait and see what it says, let’s wait and see what the executive order says how it applies to us, our community and our lives, and then go from there and react accordingly. As opposed to making assumptions as to what it might entail because it very well may not.”

Governor Kelly will be releasing the executive order on Thursday which will outline guidance about the masks.

In the meantime, Sheriff Groves he is working to provide his office as well as other area agencies with masks.

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