Kansas Mandates Wearing Face Masks at all Indoor/Outdoor Public Spaces

TOPEKA, Kan. — Gov. Laura Kelly has ordered that every person in Kansas must wear a mask in public spaces starting July 3. 

The order includes not only indoor public spaces, but also outdoor public spaces where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. 

Kelly said more specific guidance will be released Thursday. 

The news comes after the state added more than 900 cases of COVID-19 since Friday. The order will go into effect just before what’s expected to be a busy Fourth of July holiday weekend. 

For residents and visitors in Wyandotte and Douglas counties, this won’t be much of a change. 

Both these counties have already announced mask mandates. Wyandotte County’s order is set to begin on June 30, and Douglas County’s will begin July 1

However, Douglas County’s order only applied to indoor public spaces. The governor’s order will take precedence. 

But last week, leaders in Johnson County specifically said they don’t want to make face masks a requirement

Dr. Sanmi Areola, Johnson County’s health director, said he strongly urged people in Johnson County to wear a mask, but they would not make it a requirement. They planned to focus on testing instead. 

Kansas City’s health director, Dr. Rex Archer, called Johnson County “unsafe”  because of that and advised people to avoid going there.

However, Johnson County will now have to follow Kelly’s order and require face masks for residents and visitors. 

Kansas City was the first municipality in the Kansas City region to make face masks a requirement. The order was announced Friday and went into effect Monday, June 29.  

Wyandotte County followed with an announcement on Saturday, and Jackson County, Missouri, and Douglas County made their announcements on Monday. Jackson County’s mask order is also set to begin July 1