New statewide mask order expected, but not likely to stick

Sedgwick County mask sign
Sedgwick County mask sign(KWCH 12)
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 5:16 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - For the first time since November, a statewide mask order officially expires across Kansas, but it’s unclear exactly what restrictions will look like by the end of the week. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly will reissue a mask mandate Thursday, but that order most likely will be overturned.

“We need to remain in masks. We need to remain socially distant. We need to keep taking the precautions as we let the vaccine get more widespread and people can be safer,” Kelly said.

The order likely will be overturned as a new law allows legislative leaders to revoke orders by the governor until the state of emergency expires on May 28.

“I think the leadership in both the House and the Senate have made it clear they don’t like this, but I have never made decisions on the pandemic based on popularity. It’s been all based on science and based on what I feel that we need to do to keep people safe,” Kelly said. “Republican leadership in the legislature has sent a very loud message that it won’t sick, but that doesn’t relieve me of my responsibilities as governor, which is to mandate a mask for a little while longer until we can ensure we have herd immunity across the state.”

The Legislative Post Council will meet to review the mask order after Kelly reissues the executive order Thursday. Eyewitness News checked in with the committee to see how it will vote.

“So, we are not in the same position we were when the governor last issued a statewide masked mandate. we don’t need a one size fits all statewide mandate,” said Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa.

With concerns of more contagious variants of COVID-19 in Kansas, state GOP leaders said they will reassess the situation if Kansas sees another spike in cases.

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