Mask rules vary in neighboring cities, counties

Signs, like this one at the Family Dollar, 505 W. Sixth St., explaining story policies regarding masks are popping up all over Junction City. Businesses have the option to require patrons to wear face masks.

When Gov. Laura Kelly issued a statewide mask mandate, she included a provision to allow counties to opt out of the mandate. Some counties chose to opt out like Geary County did, others decided to follow the mandate; and some counties opted out but let cities within the county decide what they wanted to do.

Additionally, every business has the right to enforce their own mask policy regardless of what the city or county requires. In Junction City, Goodwill, Starbucks and soon Walmart are a few of the stores that have mask mandates.

“The entire company has the mask policy in effect — it is coming out of our corporate office,” said Davonna Renner, team lead at Goodwill. “It’s called Safe Shopping. If you want to shop, you have to have a mask on. We can’t let them in the doors if they don’t have a mask.”

She said shoppers have been understanding of the policy and they have not had any issues.

However, across the country reports are piling up about people taking their frustration out on store clerks. While it is not a law everywhere for people to wear a mask, businesses are free to make it a store policy.

“If you don’t abide by what they require then they can ask you to leave,” said Capt. Trish Giordano with the Junction City Police Department. “If you refuse, you can be charged with trespassing, if (the business) wish to pursue charges.”

When visiting neighboring cities and counties people are expected to know and abide by their rules. Although the municipalities all have different rules, they all encourage the masks whether they require them or not.

Area mask regulations

Riley County: Opted out of the mask mandate, allowed cities in the county to set their own.

Manhattan: People must wear a mask or face covering in public spaces through Labor Day weekend or risk being fined. A first violation is $5, a second violation is $10 while the third and subsequent violations are $20. Court costs are $98, according to a city memo.

Wamego: It is highly encouraged, but not mandatory.

Pottawatomie County: Opted out of the governor’s mandate, but encourages the wearing of masks.

Dickinson County: Mask are mandated in all public spaces.

Saline County: Following a mask mandate issued in Salina, Saline County commissioners also voted to require people wear them, according to county resolution 20-2297. Violations can result in a fine of no less than $25 upon a first violation, no less than $50 for a second violation and no less than $100 upon a third or subsequent violation.

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