July 30, 2021

elprincipelila

There's nothing like our health

Masks may not be required soon, county health officer and some local businesses disagree

2 min read

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW)- The positivity rate for COVID-19 is under two-percent for the first time since early June of last year. Sedgwick County announced that they could do away with the mask mandate as early as this week. 

What does this mean for businesses? Some owners said they plan to follow the county’s guidance, while others said they will keep the mask requirement in place until more people are vaccinated. 

Reverie Coffee Roasters owner, Andrew Gough, said he will require masks if the mask mandate is lifted. “Changing the mandate at this time is a bad idea,” said Gough. “If anything we need to continue to stay strong and get more people vaccinated keep getting further away from this pandemic not just allowing it to come right back.”

Gough said he plans to do what it takes to protect his staff, the customers and the community. 

His choice comes as a recent bill, that is expected to be signed by the Governor, would rescind the mandate put into place by the county health officer. 

“At that point in time it’s probably likely that most counties are going to not have the local order anymore but private businesses are going to be able to set the conditions under which they operate,” said Sedgwick County Deputy Manager Tim Kaufman.

Sedgwick County Health Officer, Dr. Garold Minns, said he is willing to have a conversation about the current order. However, he fears loosening restrictions could cause the rate of infection to go up. “Some states it’s going back up, we don’t want to go back. we’ve been there, done that,” said Dr. Minns. “Right now it seems pretty good control, but I think if there’s I think there’s a chance if we relax it too much. Too many people stop doing that that we could see the numbers come back up.”

The mandate is still in place, but Gough said if the county changes it this week, he believes it may bring backlash to businesses who want to keep it. “Let’s keep us all in the same place, and most importantly, get rid of this virus,” said Gough. 

The current health order requires masks in Sedgwick County until April 30, but Sedgwick County Commissioners plan to discuss the order on Wednesday.

For the latest information and data on COVID-19 cases in Sedgwick County, click here.

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