Mar 09, 2021 10:58 AM

County relaxes some COVID-19 requirements

Posted Mar 09, 2021 10:58 AM

The Geary County Commission has approved a new local health order which continues to include the requirement to wear face masks but relaxes the 100-person limit on mass gatherings.

Trish Giordano, Commission Chair, said they kept the face masks in place for businesses and if you're unable to social distance. "We want people to still be cognizant of mitigation activities and trying to stop the spread."

On the removal of the gathering limitations, Giordano stated, "We definitely want to think about the kids graduating this year and being able to hold graduation."

The new order is effective Tuesday.


Text of the new local health order:


WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a public health and safety concern for the citizens of Geary County, and

WHEREAS, the Local Health Officer and Medical Advisor/Consultant have provided recommendations in the form of public health orders to the Board of County Commissioners which acts as the local board of health in order to curb and mitigate the community spread of COVID-19, and WHEREAS, K.S.A. 65-201 and 202 have been amended by the Kansas Legislature to confer the power upon the local governing body, the Board of County Commissioners of Geary County, which acts as the local board of health, to: " ... issue orders less stringent than .. . an executive order effective statewide .. "; and the power to amend or revoke any emergency declaration upon review; and to amend or revoke any local health order upon review; and

WHEREAS, the Local Health Officer, the Medical Advisor/Consultant, and the Emergency Management Services Director, have reviewed Resolution 12-28-2020A, the Governor's latest Executive Order, and the current conditions in Geary County and the surrounding counties and hereby recommends to the Board of County Commissioners, acting as the Board of Health, the following order which the Board of County Commissioners acting as the Board of Health and under the authority of House Bill 2016 does HEREBY ADOPT AND DOES FURTHER HEREBY RESOLVE and ORDER that Resolution 12-28-2020A be amended as follows, taking into account those factors which are necessary to protect the public health and safety of the citizens of Geary County, all in view of the current conditions existing and the efforts to combat and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and its variants:

Section One: Definitions

I. For the purposes of the Order, "Mask or other face-covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth down to the chin that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or secured to the head by other means or devices or wrapped around the lower face . A mask or other facecovering can be made of various synthetic and natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen.

Ideally, a mask or other face-covering has two or more layers. A mask or other face-covering may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or improvised from the household items such as scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

2. For the purposes of this Order, the phrase "Close Contact" means: a. Being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, for a period of 10 or more minutes;

b. Having physical contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

Section Two: Mitigation Activities

For purposes of this Order, individuals are ordered to restrict activities based upon my authority as the Local Health Officer. People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick are urged to stay in their residence except as necessary to seek medical care.


1. All businesses must prominently post signs in their establishments identifying the requirement to wear a mask.

2. Each and every person over two (2) years old, when in Geary County, must:

a. Wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are in but not limited to any of the following situations:

1. Inside any indoor or outdoor public space where 6-foot distancing at all times is not possible (not including people who reside together.)

ii. In line and waiting to enter an indoor public space or waiting in line to check out at any place of business;

111. Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings, including but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank, unless directed otherwise by an employee or healthcare provider; or; 1v. Waiting for or riding on public transportation or in a taxi, private car service, or ridesharing vehicle. v. Any situation where there is close contact or exposure for 10 minutes or more.

b. All businesses, organizations, and non-profit associations must require all employees, customers, visitors, members, or members of the public to wear a mask or other face coverings when:

1. Visiting/working for any business/organization where they will come into contact with another member of the public.

ii. Employees are working in any space where food or beverages are prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, including but not limited to kitchens, bars, deli counters, etc;

111 . When entering an eating or drinking facility, customers and those mentioned in A.2.b.ii must wear masks until seated, whenever they get up to move about an establishment where they do not maintain 6-foot distancing, and when not actively engaged in eating or drinking.

1v. Employees are in any room or an enclosed area where other people (except individuals who reside together) are present and unable to maintain a 6-foot distance except for infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

NOTE: Documentation from a health care provider must be provided for anyone claiming a medical exemption from wearing a mask.

c. The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks other face coverings in situations described in Paragraphs 2:

1. Children age two years and under should not wear a face-covering because of the risk of suffocation;

11. Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering-this includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face-covering could obstruct breathing or who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;

111. Persons who are deaf and hard of hearing, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

1v. Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;

v. Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face-covering is necessary to perform the service;

v1. Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are actively engaged in eating or drinking, provided they maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together or are seated together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;

vii. Athletes who are engaged in an organized sports activity that allows athletes to maintain a 6-foot distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity, and individuals who are participating in strenuous exercise that allows such individuals to maintain a 6-foot distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;

viii. Persons who are engaged in an activity that a professional or recreational association, regulatory entity, medical association, or other public health-oriented entity has determined cannot be safely conducted while wearing a mask or other face-covering;

1x. Persons engaged in a court-related proceeding held or managed by the Kansas Judiciary;

x. Persons engaged in any lawful activity during which wearing a mask or other facecovering is prohibited by law; and

x1. Persons who have one or more physical barrier(s) between them and any other persons.

d. Face coverings are not a replacement for adhering to social distancing and other public health protocols with respect to COVID-19. All individuals must continue to maintain 6 feet or more of distance from other people, wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and stay home when sick.


All businesses and locations are required to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), May 2020" ( and industry-specific guidance from trade groups. They must meet, at a minimum, the following requirements.

1. Soap and water must be readily available as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizers for employees and customers.

2. Routine cleaning with a bleach solution or some other sanitizing product of frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, doorknobs, cash registers, credit card keypads, etc.

3. Sanitizing all surfaces such as countertops, tables/chairs, and any items handled by customers before being used by another customer.