Mar 09, 2021 6:08 PM

Mask mandate to be revisited March 30

Posted Mar 09, 2021 6:08 PM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. —The Board of Reno County Commissioners will be looking later this month at whether or not a mask mandate is still needed in the county.

"I think some of the policies probably were a little overreactive," said County Commissioner Daniel Friesen. "At what point do we acknowledge that and start to kind of move to reopening, to a point where we look at the evidence and say this is working and this is not."

The Reno County Medical Collaborative advised the commission that they should keep the mandate a little longer to allow for further vaccinations.

"It would be our recommendation to not opt out of the Governor's mask mandate at this time," said Karen Hammersmith with the Reno County Health Department. "We feel that this is premature. Our numbers are coming down. We have gotten the high priority people as far as those 65 and older vaccinated. Also, we have the first portion of teachers vaccinated, but they don't even have their second vaccines in. We just sent all kids back to school, which we would like to keep them in school."

Friesen, at the least, wants to see more evidence. He believes that masks should be worn, but that the county commission shouldn't necessarily mandate them.

"That's where I'm seeing the difference here, between forcing somebody and having the burden of proof that it seems like we're having trouble developing and one notch less, which is, hey, this is highly recommended. Let's keep doing it until we're out of this."

He wanted to give the medical community a chance to provide their proof before voting to take anything away, so the item has been scheduled to be revisited on March 30.

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