Marion passes face mask ordinance

The Marion City Council met on Monday evening last week and passed an ordinance for face coverings when social distancing is not possible. The ordinance became effective Wednesday, July 29, 2020, and will remain in effect until August 24, 2020.

Marion Director of Economic Development Randy Collett summed things up simply for the Marion business owners.

He said, “I doubt there is any among us who would wish this outcome but at the same time it is a way to gain some level of assurance that you, our local business community won’t get caught up in another driftnet of mandated shutdowns.”

The ordinance states that as of the date of the ordinance, in Kansas, there have been 24,104 reported positive cases of COVID -19 spread among 103 counties, including 308 deaths. It also states that after a steady trend of decreasing metrics, recent weeks have seen the numbers of COVID -19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths spike in Kansas and across the nation, as well as a recent increase in cases as is reported on the Marion County COVID dashboard. This increased COV I D -19 spread is a danger to the health and safety of every person in the City of Marion and also presents a serious threat to reopening and reviving the Marion economy and wearing a mask in public is the easiest and most effective way to protect each other and help keep our businesses open and our economy running.

It also said the City of Marion must remain flexible to account for the evolving nature and scope of the unprecedented public health emergency posed by COVID -19, while also simultaneously safely, strategically, and incrementally reopening business and facilitating economic recovery and revitalization.

“As a result, of those reasons, and in recognition and furtherance of my responsibility to provide for and ensure the health, safety, security, and welfare of the people of the City of Marion, requiring that masks or other face coverings be worn in public spaces is necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population,” said Mayor David Mayfield.

The ordinance states that a mask or other face-covering means a covering of the nose and mouth 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 is simply wrapped around the lower face. A mask or other face-covering can be made of a variety of 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 can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

The ordinance clarified a public space as an indoor or outdoor space or area that is open to the public; this does not include private residential property or private offices or workspaces that are not open to customers or public visitors.

The code states:

1.) All persons in the City of Marion shall cover their mouths and noses with a mask or other face covering when they are in the following situations:

a. Inside any indoor public space where distancing of 6 feet at all times is not possible;

b. In line and waiting to enter an indoor public space.

c. 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.

d. Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride –

sharing vehicle:

e. While outdoors in public spaces and unable to maintain a 6 -foot distance between individuals not including individuals who reside together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

2.) Businesses and organizations. All businesses, organizations and non – profit associations in the City of Marion must require all employees, customers, visitors, members, or members of the public to wear a mask or other face covering when:

a. Employees are working in any space visited by customers or members of the public when anyone from the public is present at the time;

b. Employees are working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;

c. Customers, members, visitors, or members of the public are in a facility managed by the business or organization; or

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

3.) Exemptions. The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks or other face coverings in the situations described in Paragraphs 1 and 2:

a. Persons age five years or under; children age two years and under in particular should not wear a face-covering because of the risk of suffocation;

b. 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 are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;

c. Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

d. 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;

c. 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;

f. Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are 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;

g. 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;

h. 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;

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

j. Persons engaged in any lawful activity during which wearing a mask or other face covering is prohibited by law.

For more information, head to the city website at marionks.net or call the city office at 620-382-3703.

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