Pittsburg residents react to mask mandate in Kansas
Authorities emphasize: not wearing a mask is not a crime
PITTSBURG, Kan. – On a hot day, it’s nice too cool off with some summer snacks, and despite the heat, some Pittsburg kids are doing their part to spread cheer, without germs, hoping others will take note.
“People who make the masks are like awesome, and I’m so thankful, but I think we can step it up a notch,” said Kiamani Irving.
Alexander Quackenbush would agree, despite the relative discomfort of wearing a mask with glasses, he supports Governor Kelly’s new order.
“Surprised that Kansas didn’t initiate one sooner, very surprised that we do not have a national order to wear masks,” said Quackenbush.
“A mandate shouldn’t have been necessary. I feel that people should have been doing their part to begin with to try and help with this situation, but I feel that by instituting a mandate, it may help to get more people wearing masks,” expressed Cromwell.
Despite differing opinions on the subject: the order stands, requiring Kansans to mask up in public, indoor settings, or outside when staying six feet apart isn’t possible. However, authorities want to clarify: not following the order is not a crime.
“We are not going to be detaining, citing, or arresting anybody for not wearing their mask, we certainly would advise people to listen to your health officer, your county health officer, comply with the governor’s order and do what you need to do to keep you and your family safe,” explained Crawford County Sheriff Danny Smith.
There are provisions in the order for potential civil penalties, but that wouldn’t fall under the enforcement of police. However, not complying with a business’ request is a different story.
“The thing that we don’t want to happen is there being any kind of confrontation between somebody not wearing a mask…or somebody that refuses to put on a mask and giving a business owner a hard time about it, that’s where we would get involved,” said Smith.
Irving and his friends just hope people can get along and respect each other’s decision, whatever that may be.
“The main thing that we all need is to stay safe,” said Irving.
There are exceptions to the mask order for those with certain medical conditions, and people eating in restaurants do not have to wear one either. You can read the full order here.