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Sumner County Commissioners vote 3-0 not to require the use of face masks in public

Special meeting brings out 14 people today.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Sumner County Commissioners voted 3-0 to “recommend” but not “enforce” Governor Laura Kelley’s executive order to mandatory wear masks during a special meeting held at the courthouse late this afternoon.

Using the recommendation of Sumner County Health Officer Laura Rettig’s suggestion, the commissioners signed an order that states (see full order here):

“The Board of Commissioners of Sumner County, Kansas, sitting both as the Board of County Commissioners and as the Board of Health of the County, that the use of face masks in public is not required in Sumner County…

“It is further resolved that the citizens of Sumner County are encouraged and otherwise recommended whenever possible to utilize face masks in an effort to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on Sumner County.”

The special meeting was a bit impromptu, as it was announced at 4:17 p.m. to start at 5:30 p.m. Commissioners, usually wearing business suits, came in informal garden clothes for the special meeting. Originally, the commissioners were to meet and discuss the order on Monday morning of next week but decided to pass the resolution regarding the use of face masks before the Fourth of July weekend. 

The meeting lasted about 30 minutes and there were 14 people in attendance.

79th District State Representative Cheryl Helmer spoke and told the commissioners she has heard from several constituents who do not want to mandatorily wear masks.

The meeting opened with a 10-minute executive session.

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