Pottawatomie County opts out of governor’s executive order, following rescheduled meeting

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Face masks won’t be required in public spaces in Pottawatomie County.

The Commission in a rescheduled meeting Thursday, opted out of Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order mandating masks, instead passing Local Health Order No. 7.

The new order includes guidelines from the Health Officer “strongly recommending” the use of masks and other safety items when social distancing cannot be maintained. The County offices will also strongly recommend the wearing of masks, and will have them available for those who do not have one.

The county says private businesses retain the right to make the wearing of masks mandatory for their locations.

Initially, the Pottawatomie County Commission was scheduled to meet Friday morning at 10 a.m. An email from the public information officer Thursday to media, corrected that to 9 a.m. Then at 3:55 p.m. media outlets were notified that the meeting had been rescheduled yet again, this time to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Emergency Operations Center in Wamego, giving media outlets very little notice and causing many residents to outright miss the meeting altogether, which was streamed via a Zoom call.

Several residents commented on the county’s Facebook page they had difficulty logging into the meeting, which lasted about 25 minutes. It’s unclear if the county commission violated terms of the Kansas Open Meetings Act, by opting for the last minute adjustment. Under KOMA rules, a body or agency has no minimum time required to give notice, only a “reasonable” notice.

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Brandon Peoples

KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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