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Gov. Kelly: Mask mandate about social responsibility, not personal freedom

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly isn’t mincing words about her desire to get more Kansans to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is not about state and local control, and it’s not a question of personal freedom,” Kelly said. “This is a matter of social responsibility while we’re dealing with the worst outbreak of a communicable virus in a century.

Kelly’s statewide mask mandate for people in public places went into effect on Friday, but many counties decided to opt-out of the requirement. The governor said she wishes more local officials would follow her lead.

“Until we have a vaccine; masks, social distancing, and good hygiene are our best defenses against this virus,” Kelly said

“Kansas is at a make it or break it moment, so let’s do the right, and the smart, thing.”

Gov. Laura Kelly

There have been nearly 4,500 new coronavirus cases in the past two weeks and 16 more deaths.

Kelly said many cases are coming from places like bars and restaurants. She said new data is showing just how important wearing a mask is to stop the spread.

“There are no clusters at this time connected to barbershops, nail salons, or any other close contact services,” Kelly said. “That is not a coincidence, it is more proof that masks and hygienic business practices do indeed work. If we continue to ignore the experts, there is no question Kansas will end up like other states that have not taken this threat seriously.”

Kelly announced at her press conference on Monday that Kansas will stay in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening guidelines. That recommends against gatherings of more than 45 people.

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