At a special meeting of the Geary County Commissioners Thursday, commissioners voted for the county to not participate in the governor Laura Kelly’s executive order requiring face masks in public places. As such, a resolution was approved to adhere to a public health order issued by the Geary County Health Department.

Even though Geary County is exempt from the governor’s order, it is recommended that people follow the guidelines for social distancing and wearing a mask.

“We (may not be) following the governor’s mandate,” said Keith Ascher, commission chairman. “But we are strongly encouraging everybody to try and wear a mask where its applicable — if there’s no opportunity of six-foot social distancing. But either way, we strongly encourage and recommend that people wear a mask.”

Representatives from the health department, Geary County Sheriff, Emergency Operations Center with Emergency Management and the medical advisor to the health department, were all in agreement with the decision to opt up of the governor’s mandate.

Ascher said this is an opportunity for citizens to be responsible for themselves.

“By doing this we expect the public to reciprocate,” he said. “Because if they don’t, we may have to be more strict down the road. So, we are allowing them a little bit of freedom right now.

The health order is in place for the next 14 days which coincides with the incubation period of COVID-19. At the end of the 14 days, restrictions could be lessened further or made stricter depending what is said by the health department.

“The hygiene and wearing masks are a small price to pay compared to going through another closure,” Ascher said. “And we do not want to do that.”

To read the resolution and order from the health department visit, https://www.facebook.com/gearycountyhealthdept/posts/10157587858906452.

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