WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita City Council voted to approve the budget and extend the mask ordinance until Sept. 8, 2020, during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
The ordinance, first enacted on July 3, mandates that face coverings are worn when residents are in any public space where social distancing of six feet at all times is not possible. There are exemptions to this mandate, including those with medical conditions, mental health conditions, or disabilities that would preclude them from safely wearing a face covering, customers eating at restaurants, and more. Residents may inform business owners and their employees of their medical exemptions and are not required to show documentation from their medical provider.
The city has provided free templates to area businesses to help educate customers about mask requirements. They can be downloaded here.
Over 50 Wichitans spoke at a public hearing before the council on the budget about police funding. Others spoke about the possible privatization of Century II.
After discussion, the council voted 7-0 to close the public hearing on the budget and take the staff’s recommended action on adopting the 2021 budget that includes adjustments to Animal Control.
Before the meeting, a Back to Blue rally was held outside of Century II to support Wichita officers.
Some people were rallying in support of the police department, while others said they support defunding of the department.
“We just wanted to make our voices heard that we support our law enforcement, that we support what they need and we actually think that they need more money in order to do all the things that they do,” said Jessica Pereira, supporter of Back The Blue.
“I would like to see it defunded in Wichita because it’s grown out of control,” said Melissa Tovar-Ohlson. “I think we’re focusing on the wrong things.”
Then, there were people who said they understood both sides, but wanted to make sure everyone was heard.
“I think that the council needs to take more time to listen to the people clearly, the people are impassioned clearly,” said Pastor Moe, Wichita resident. “The people have something to say about the budget and are not happy with it. I think more time, more dialogue needs to occur. I think the city needs to be intentional about listening to the citizens.”
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