Businesses ease restrictions, but some counties, cities, still have mask orders

Businesses ease restrictions, but some counties, cities, still have mask orders


TOPEKA, (KSNT) — Kansas is starting to see some changes with the lifting of mask orders, after new CDC guidance for people that are fully vaccinated.

The governor’s office confirmed with Kansas Capitol Bureau on Friday that counties and cities still have local control over mask orders, after the state adopted the CDC’s recommendation.

However, the majority of Kansas cities and counties don’t have mask orders in place. All but four have gotten rid of them. According to county officials, Wyandotte County and Douglas County are the only two counties that currently have mask orders in place.

“Counties are actually starting to see, in some cases, no new cases in their county, so things are definitely looking up in Kansas,” said Kimberly Qualls, Communications director of the state’s association of counties.

According to the League of Municipalities, two cities also have mask ordinances. Salina and Manhattan are the only two cities left with mask orders. Manhattan’s expires on May 16th.

Some small businesses in the state have already started to lift restrictions, like Prairie Trading Company, a consignment boutique in Topeka.

“We’re trying to ease our way into it, and ease our customers into it, and let them feel comfortable shopping here,” said Stephanie Stromgren, who works at the family-owned business.

For now, some larger retailers, like Target and CVS, have opted to keep mask orders, as they review the CDC guidance.

But, some small businesses in the state are eager to return to normal, as more customers roll in.

Stromgren said the store is at about 80% of sales from last year when they had to close due to the pandemic. Now, they’re getting back to where they were in 2019, before coronavirus spread.

“We’re quite a bit busier, as people are getting more comfortable being out. My hopes are that business get back to normal.”

Both city and county officials said things could change for the remaining communities with mask orders, as local officials meet in the coming weeks.

The Kansas Association of Counties said discussions will be held soon, for the two remaining counties.

“We just have the two, and as of next week, that could change, where we could see mask mandates will not be in place for any counties in Kansas.”

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