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A Wildcat fan watches K-State soccer from the stands at Buser Family Park on April 10. Starting Monday, people in the rural portions of Riley County won’t be required to wear masks in public. People in Manhattan will have to continue wearing masks in public through May 16.

Although the county mask mandate expires Sunday night, Mayor Wynn Butler said the city commission is keeping Manhattan’s mask ordinance through May 16 as planned.

Butler said the commission will let the ordinance expire on May 16 instead of trying to rescind it early as the Riley County Commission voted to do on Thursday.

“And the reason is pretty simple,” he said. “It takes two readings for us to kill an ordinance, and the first reading would be Tuesday if we actually voted to end it. It would take two more weeks before we could have the second reading, which would be May 18; the thing would be gone anyway then. So, we’re just going to stay the course.”

Some city commissioners wanted to tie Manhattan’s ordinance to the county, but legally, the entities couldn’t do it. The commissions in March extended their orders through May 16 with the intention of a uniform policy for the area.

All city commissioners, except for Mark Hatesohl, said they favored sticking with the May 16 end date. Officials chose this date because it occurs after graduation at Kansas State University and USD 383. Hatesohl was the only commissioner who expressed a desire to end the city’s ordinance early.

“I’d like us to take it up and follow the county,” Hatesohl said.

Hatesohl added the county’s decision was “good news.”

Commissioners Usha Reddi and Linda Morse expressed disappointment about the county’s decision.

“The rest of us (USD 383, K-State, city of Manhattan) are continuing our commitment,” Morse said.

Although the decision did not surprise commissioner Aaron Estabrook, he said he thought the county commissioners do not see themselves as representing the county as a whole.