A Toothless Mandate: Sedgwick County's Mask Order, July 8 and 9, 2020


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A Toothless Mandate: Sedgwick County's Mask Order, July 8 and 9, 2020

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After the city of Wichita decreed compulsory mask-wearing, the Sedgwick County Local Health officer issued an emergency order overriding the County Commission's decision to not make masks in public mandatory. The first order states that no penalties will enforce the mandate's provisions, while the second, issued the very next day, adds religious institutions to the list of exempted parties; a hot button issue that saw Governor Laura Kelly's administration besieged by lawsuits and accusations of abuse of power during the statewide lockdown. Therefore, these texts are products of the political tensions that hobbled Kansas's response efforts in the face of a surging COVID-19 crisis, with state and local leaders, most if not all of whom identified as Republicans, opting for non-existent counter-measures that prevented "executive overreach," but allowed the virus to flourish.

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This item was submitted on July 10, 2020 by Aaron Peterka using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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