Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said Monday that she is ordering residents to wear masks in public in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The move will no longer impose restrictions on which state companies are open, but will require all Kansans to wear masks when they are in public both indoors and outdoors when a six-foot distance cannot be maintained.
“When the first pandemic occurred, there were mixed messages about the masks. Now the evidence couldn’t be clearer, wearing a mask is not only safe, but another closure needs to be avoided, “Kelly said at a press conference.
The order will take effect on Friday, just before July 4, with its official text and details to be published on Thursday.
“This does not change where you can go or what you can do. It just means that if you are around other people you should wear a mask, “she said.
Kelly said the state is seeing case groups related to “meetings where no masks are worn,” but not in businesses that are open but require masks, such as hair salons and dental offices.
“I know this is frustrating, I know we all want it to end, but we are still at it, and we are together,” he said.
The Kansas Department of Health has reported a total of 14,442 coronavirus cases, 1,152 hospitalizations and 270 deaths as of Monday. Kelly said there was an influx of more than 900 new cases over the weekend and six new deaths, according to The Kansas City Star.
Many states have already imposed mandatory mask orders. Others who experienced sudden increases, such as Texas and Arizona, have halted plans to reopen or have re-imposed restrictions to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.