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Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates

Posted on: April 29, 2021

Riley County to Rescind Mask Mandate

man wearing a mask

(RILEY COUNTY, KS – April 29, 2021) During the Riley County Board of County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, April 29th, the County Commission voted 2-1, with Commissioner Kathryn Focke voting no, to rescind the “Local Health Officer Order No. 21”. The action will take effect on Sunday, May 2nd, at 11:59 PM. 

Local Order 21 had extended the mask mandate until May 16th at 11:59 PM but based on COVID-19 data in Riley County, the commission decided to withdraw the mandate sooner. 

“Individuals are still encouraged to wear masks when in large groups or indoors with those who are not fully vaccinated. However, it is no longer mandatory,” explained Riley County Health Officer Julie Gibbs.

Businesses can still require customers to wear a mask, but it is now at their discretion. 

Mask mandates at schools throughout the county, Kansas State University, and the City of Manhattan are still in effect. This means that individuals within any of the above facilities or city limits of Manhattan must comply with any City of Manhattan ordinance in effect and remain subject to its penalties for noncompliance. 

“We have a different dynamic and a different part of the population to represent. If we had some of the issues that we had late fall, early into the year, then I would take that into consideration, but we are not seeing that at this point in time,” pointed out Board of Riley County Commission Chairman John Ford. 

“I still strongly recommend individuals maintain Social Distancing and use proper hand hygiene, such as washing their hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol,” added Gibbs.

The County Commission also voted to approve a resolution “Extending a Declaration of Local Disaster Emergency for Riley County, Kansas” to July 29, 2021. In the past, this action has been a prerequisite for both reimbursements of county costs and access to state resources during the pandemic. If needed, it reduces costs which otherwise would be the sole responsibility of Riley County taxpayers. 

For general questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine, members of the public can check the FAQ information online at https://www.rileycountyks.gov/.../Frequently-Asked-Questions  

Questions can also be emailed to [email protected]

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