Manhattan city commissioners on Tuesday will discuss for the second time the possibility of requiring face masks in public for the second time.
Mayor Usha Reddi had previously proposed a similar measure in May, but the commission ultimately rejected it.
The Flint Hills Wellness Coalition on Friday sent a letter to the commission advocating for the adoption of a required face mask law.
“If we truly want to protect the freedom we currently have and want more freedom in the future — and want to prevent another stay-at-home order — we all need to take the coronavirus seriously and require that people wear a face mask in all public places and places of employment and in outdoor settings when it’s not possible to maintain social distancing at a minimum of six feet,” Debbie Nuss, chair of the coalition, wrote. The coalition argued that doing so also would bring the city more in line with measures local entities have been adopting.
K-State is requiring everyone who enters the campus to wear masks, and all Fort Riley and 1st Infantry Division service members are required to wear face coverings on and off the installation.
The MHK Clinical Task Force, made up of local doctors and health care providers, wrote an open letter recommending USD 383 require masks to ensure children are able to stay in the classroom for the upcoming school year.
They warned that the increasing rate of cases in Riley County after beginning to reopen was “not sustainable” for the community and the healthcare provided within it.
“Riley County did a good job initially with stay at home orders, but we have seen a troublesome decline in our awareness over the last few weeks,” the task force wrote. “ … Wearing a mask or a face covering is not difficult, it is a simple act to keep you or someone around you from being hospitalized or having to be on a ventilator fighting for their life. Wearing a mask respects your family, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and is considerate. Wearing a mask respects human life.”
While there had been some debate from public health officials in the early weeks of the pandemic, after updated research, The Centers for Disease control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The CDC says masks serve as barriers to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air onto other people while talking, coughing or sneezing.
The city commission meeting will be streamed on Facebook and Cox Cable Channel 3 at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.