Aggieville Business Association Director Dennis Cook wants Riley County to rescind the latest health order because he feels it targets the district unfairly.

Juile Gibbs, director of the Riley County Health Department, issued a new order, which went into effect Thursday, that restricts dancing and congregating at bar tops, among other rules, as a way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The order has no expiration date.

“It’s restricting enough to fail businesses and undermine our local economy,” Cook said.

Cook asked the Riley County Commission on Thursday to hold a hearing soon with health officials to consider rescinding the order, which he called an overreach.

Local attorney Jeremy Platt also appeared at the meeting with Cook. ABA did not retain an attorney, Cook said, but Platt represents some of the affected businesses. Platt said the order is “overly restrictive” and could create “numerous legal issues” for the county.

Cook and Platt spoke to the commissioners during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Cook said this is a preventive measure by health officials that is not driven by data.

“Even though it is a county health order, so that should be considered a, you know, county-wide (order), we feel it is directly aimed at Aggieville,” he said.

Commissioners did not discuss the topic further, but Gibbs responded to Cook’s comments during the commission meeting.

“We are using the data available to us in order to help stop the spread,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said the county has had 66 restaurant and bar employees test positive for the coronavirus, with 44 of those from Aggieville. Gibbs said 49 other cases are tied to at least one location in Aggieville. She said that is a “large chunk” of the county’s total coronavirus cases, which is 445 as of Thursday.

Gibbs said those are some numbers to justify the actions being taken.

In other action Thursday, commissioners:

  • Approved the purchase of a shelter for Keats Park in the amount of $18,500.
  • Discussed having a future conversation on renewing the county half-cent sales tax. Commissioners likely will discuss this topic at next Thursday’s meeting. The Manhattan City Commission earlier this week

of placing a potential city sales tax question on the November ballot for voters to decide. The county wants to see what next steps the city takes on the measure before having this discussion.