Counties Were Dropping Mandates Ahead of Governor, Legislature Actions

Kansas counties already had started dropping or weakening mask rules before lawmakers toppled Governor Laura Kelly’s newly reissued order requiring them.

State lawmakers took just hours to overturn Kelly’s order, leaving counties that hadn’t set their own rules without mask requirements.

Even before the vote, a growing number of counties had started dropping mask requirements, Kimberly Qualls, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Association of Counties, said.

The number opting out rose from 42 in November to 51 in mid-February, Qualls said.

Commissioners in Sedgwick County have voted to do away with all remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

In Shawnee County, commissioners took action that allows businesses, churches, and nonprofits not to require masks.

Additionally, many counties had mask orders in place only because they took no action to opt out of Kelly’s November order.

Now they will need to pass their own rules if they want to require masks, and it is unclear whether they will do so.