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Wyandotte County opts to let mask mandate expire

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FILE – A man leaves a convenience store while wearing a required face mask in Houston, in this Thursday, June 25, 2020, file photo. Although nearly a fifth of U.S. states don’t require people to wear masks to protect against COVID-19, some businesses are requiring employees and customers to be masked on their premises. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

*Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct time and date of mandate expiration.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) – For the first time in over a year, by Friday there will be no mask mandates anywhere in the Kansas City area.

Wyandotte County leaders have decided Thursday night to let the current health order requiring face masks expire. The order expires at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Wyandotte County was the only county in the Kansas City area, and the only county in the state of Kansas to have a mask mandate after Douglas County also decided earlier this week to let its mask order expire.

County commissioners are still urging people to get vaccinated and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses are also allowed to enforce their own mask rules.

Earlier this month, the Unified Government’s Board of Commissioners met to discuss the same mask issue, and after two motions to end the mandate failed, the conversation was tabled until Thursday night.

Last week, Wyandotte County’s health department recommended the mask order stay since data at the time showed only 25% of residents had been fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates are higher in neighboring Jackson and Johnson counties.

Health officials warned last week the community is seeing at least 10 new COVID-19 cases every day with a large increase in cases among school-age children. 

Other municipalities, like Kansas City and Jackson, Platte and Clay counties, dropped their mask rules after the CDC released new guidelines this month saying fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks indoors.

To avoid confusion and prevent businesses from enforcing an even more difficult mandate, local leaders dropped the mask requirement. Johnson County, Kansas, had dropped its mask rule a few weeks prior to the CDC’s announcement.

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