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Sedgwick County businesses to make own decisions on mask requirements

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Even without a mandate in Sedgwick County, you may still want to bring a mask with you if you’re planning to go out. While masks and social distancing in public are recommendations instead of requirements from the county level, individual businesses can still require the safety measures and deny service to those who won’t comply.

Among Wichita businesses opting to continue requiring masks is Leslie’s Coffee Company in the city’s Delano District.

“We have been trying to look at the CDC guidelines and what scientists are recommending as the best thing to do,” Leslie’s owner Sarah Leslie said.

The coffee shop started requiring masks before the city, county and state mandated them. At least for awhile, Leslie said that will continue.

“We will still be asking people to wear masks. We’ll still be wearing masks behind the counter,” she said.

Defense attorney Dan Monnat said that decision is well within the rights of privately-owned businesses.

“Private businesses have always had the right to impose non-discriminatory requirements on their customers,” Monnat said. “One example of that is the classic, ‘No shoes, no shirt, no service.”

He also said if you don’t comply with a business’s rules, you could face penalties for interfering with business or trespassing. But it’ll take more than ignoring a sign on the door to do that.

“First, the person has to be asked to leave and refuse to leave before they can be prosecuted for criminal trespass,” Monnat said.

Leslie said the safety of her employees and customers is the top priority.

“If people don’t want to wear a mask, we can still serve them. They can call in their order or order online and we can bring it out to them,” she said. “But if they want to come inside, we just ask they put one on.”

Once her staff is vaccinated and the CDC says it’s safe to gather without face coverings, Leslie said they’ll stop requiring masks at the shop.

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