By BECKY KISER
The city of Hays has had less feedback than it anticipated about the mandatory mask ordinance in effect from July 27 to Aug. 31.
The response has been mixed, according to Collin Bielser, assistant city manager, who said there were quite a few phone calls to city officials the first day the ordinance was in place — but those have dropped off since then.
"Right now, we’re taking an educational approach—voluntary compliance," Bielser said.
People in Hays are required to wear a face covering inside any indoor public space where distancing of 6 feet is not possible.
"There is an email — [email protected] — where you can report or ask questions of the police department," Bielser said.
"I’m aware that they’ve responded to two or three incidents at private businesses for trespassing because of refusing to wear a mask.”
Sandy Jacobs, vice-mayor, said she has received support from residents since the city’s face mask ordinance went into effect.
"We all know it was a challenging issue," she said during Thursday's city commission work session. "I've had more emails and handwritten notes, which nobody takes the time to write any more, thanking the commission for what we did."
Jacobs recalled what Commissioner Michael Berges said during their discussion prior to approving the ordinance on July 23.
"You said the worse that can happen is that is an inconvenience. The best that can happen is that we're going to keep somebody alive," Jacobs said.
There are 10 exemptions to the ordinance, including children younger than age 8. The ordinance is enforceable inside city limits and at the Hays Regional Airport.
Violators can be fined.
Ellis County is one of 90 Kansas counties that is not enforcing the governor’s executive order last month for face coverings in public.