The Board of Marshall County Commissioners met in Special Session with Barbara Kickhaefer, chairman, Keith Bramhall member, Tom Holle member and County Clerk Sandra Wilson present. Also attending the meeting were Marshall County Sheriff Timothy Ackerman, Emergency Management Director Bill Schwindamann, Jr., Ron Green of Marysville, Lori Snellings of Marysville, County Health Nurse Sue Rhodes, County Counselor Jason Brinegar, Bruce Dierking with KNDY, County Attorney Meghan Voracek, Sarah Kessinger with the Advocate, County Health Officer John Ryan and Bob & Janet Connell of Marysville.
Chairman Barbara Kickhaefer called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m.
The Board opened the meeting with the flag salute.
Commissioner Kickhaefer opened the meeting to brief statements concerning Executive Order 20-52.
Commissioner Kickhaefer said after reading the executive order she was concerned about the language in the order that says the public “shall” wear masks but businesses & organization “must require” the wearing of masks. The Executive Order is acceptable until you add the Attorney General’s Memorandum making any violation a civil wrong to be prosecuted by the County Attorney and not handled by police. Kickhaefer is concerned this becomes a liability to the business or organization should they let someone enter without a mask. Businesses have had enough stress over COVID without adding civil liability pressures.
Commissioner Bramhall feels that the requirements of wearing masks should be left up to the businesses.
Commissioner Holle also feels that it should be left up to the business to decide what they will require also stating that the Executive Order is not enforceable by law.
County Health Officer John Ryan stated that a mask mandate is good. He said employees wearing masks are important to protect the business. Transmission of the disease is decreased when wearing masks.
County Health Nurse Sue Rhodes states that masks are the easiest thing we have to slow the spread of the disease. Schools are struggling with the idea of masking everyone. She feels strongly that we need to do what we can now so that the schools are able to open this Fall. The General public does not know what to do and they are looking to the County for directive.
Sheriff Tim Ackerman stated that the Attorney General put out an opinion on Thursday indicating that the enforcement of wearing a mask would not fall under the criminal parameters but would make it a civil issue therefore, the responsibility of investigating any complaints would fall on the County Attorney’s office. County Attorney Meghan Voracek feels that this would be very time consuming and her focus would be better spent prosecuting criminal cases.
County Counselor Jason Brinegar read a proposed Resolution for approval.
Lori Snellings representing the Wagon Wheel Café said that it is very difficult for wait staff to wear masks throughout their entire shift and that a great part of their service involves being able to read lips when hearing is impaired and this is impossible with masks.
Sarah Kessinger with the Advocate feels that the Resolution passed should make sure that the County implies that they “strongly recommend” the wearing of masks.
Ron Green representing C’est la vie Cocktail Lounge & Bar stated that he feels patrons who attend bars automatically socially distance themselves and would like the County to not place stricter restrictions on these type of establishments.
Keith Bramhall moved, seconded by Barbara Kickhaefer to approve Resolution 20-20-07-03-1 as presented which issues an order exempting Marshall County from Executive Order 20-52 and states Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners have consulted with Public Health Officer of Marshall County and such consultation reveals that while wearing masks in public is strongly suggested and strongly encouraged, it is not necessary that the wearing of a mask or other face covering be an actual order; and
Whereas, enforcement of such an order would be a near impossibility; and
Whereas, there remain a minimal number of confirmed positive covid-19 cases in Marshall County;
Now, therefore, be it resolved, by the Board of Commissioners of Marshall County, Kansas hereby Order, as follows:
1. That the provisions of Executive Order 20-52 are not applicable in Marshall County, Kansas as an enforceable order.
2. That the provisions of Executive Order 20-52 are advisable and strongly recommended to be followed by the citizens of and visitors to Marshall County.
3. Nothing herein shall restrict any business, municipality or organization from requiring its patrons or citizens to wear a mask or other face covering.
Motion passed Unanimously.
Barbara Kickhaefer moved, seconded by Keith Bramhall to adjourn the meeting at 8:54 a.m. Unanimous. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Monday, July 6, 2020 beginning at 8:30 a.m.