May 1, 2021

Johnson County ends mask mandate, business can still require

OLATHE, Kan. — Johnson County’s mask mandate will turn into only a recommendation on May…

OLATHE, Kan. — Johnson County’s mask mandate will turn into only a recommendation on May 1.

Mask opponents wanted to see the public health measure expire entirely.

Commissioners voted 5 to 1 to transform the public health order into a series of strong recommendations, beginning Saturday.

The coronavirus positive test rate in Johnson County has now dropped below five percent.

The new strong recommendations include:

  • Continuing to wear masks or face coverings within indoor public spaces.
  • Business operators should strongly encourage or require their customers, employees and visitors to wear masks indoors.
  • People, businesses and organizations will be strongly encouraged to require customers, visitors and workers to maintain six feet of separation from people they don’t know.
  • A strong recommendation for business operators to adopt additional mitigation measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
  • A strong recommendation for businesses, organizations and individuals to follow current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local public health authorities.

“I still think that recommendations are misguided, since I don’t believe that these restrictions and mandates really work,” Daniel Austin, a mask opponent from Merriam, Kansas, said. “But at least they are still not telling us we have to do this.”

A majority of commissioners are strongly recommending that eligible individuals get vaccinated against COVID-19.

In Johnson County, 41% of the eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to county officials.

This does not include Johnson County residents who’ve been vaccinated out of state.

An estimate of that group would push the vaccination rate to more than 50%.

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