The Manhattan City Commission on Tuesday will consider requiring masks in public in the city because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The commission will meet via video conference at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Officials will televise the meeting on Cox Cable Channel 3, the Manhattan city government website and Facebook.
Last week, Gov. Laura Kelly issued a statewide mask executive order, requiring Kansans to wear masks in public. However, a recent state law has placed limits on Kelly’s emergency authority, and counties can choose to opt out of the mandate if officials can show their county doesn’t need a mask rule. Riley County commissioners took no action on the issue and kept the order in place for the county, at least for the time being.
Previously, three commissioners — Aaron Estabrook, Linda Morse and mayor Usha Reddi — expressed support for a mask mandate during last week's city work session. A citywide mandate would stay in effect even if Riley County moves to make wearing masks a recommendation, which Geary and Pottawatomie counties have already done.
Commissioners Wynn Butler and Mark Hatesohl indicated last week they would likely not vote in favor of a mask ordinance.
The city did not provide any materials on the subject by press time, stating this "item is still developing." Officials will provide more information prior to Tuesday's meeting, the note said.
The city also will look at reimplementing its emergency resolution Tuesday. The resolution aimed to streamline operations for the city and expanded city manager Ron Fehr’s authority during the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution expired Tuesday after the commission approved it back in late March.
The commission will look at extending the resolution to Aug. 4, according to a city memo.
Commissioners also will look at amending an ordinance relating to having businesses use sidewalks through permits to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak. The proposed amendment calls for allowing sidewalk cafes where alcohol can be sold to patrons.
Additionally, the commission will discuss a "betterments agreement" for the flood levee rehabilitation project. The agreement includes construction of a new gate well, pipes, adding grading and adjusting the existing bike ramp near the site, among other changes. It will cost about $6.7 million, according to the city memo.
In addition to these topics, the city also will discuss amending ordinances for a residential planned unit development in Colbert Hills. The plans are for two multiple-family dwellings with a neighborhood pool. It will include 36 one-bedroom or two-bedroom units for a total of 72, according to the city memo.