The El Dorado city commission Monday backed a proclamation asking anyone within the city limits to wear a face covering in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.


The commission chose a proclamation — not an ordinance. A proclamation does not carry with it any penalty, fine or enforcement action.


"The intent of this proclamation is to encourage voluntary use of masks or face coverings by businesses and persons within the City of El Dorado," said El Dorado Mayor Bill Young as he read the proclamation . "Law enforcement and other public safety and emergency management personnel are strongly encouraged to educate and encourage voluntary use of personal protective equipment.."


The proclamation cited action by Gov. Laura Kelly designed to slow the spread of pandemic COVID-19, a desease that resulted in the declaration of a public health emergency at the state and national level.


Citing both the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control, the proclamation encourages the use of a "clean face covering" anytime social distancing — a distance of six feet between people — cannot be observed.


Gov. Kelly signed an executive order to require facemasks to be worn on July 2, however counties were able to "opt out" under a new law passed by the legislature. She signed another mask order this week, which would require mask usage in schools when they resume.


The full text of the city proclamation is below.


PROCLAMATION


WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death by the SARSCoV-2 virus, which is a new strain of coronavirus previously unidentified in humans and which can spread from person to person; and


WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020; and


WHEREAS, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of the high public health threat posed by COVID-19 globally and in the United States and has deemed it necessary to prohibit or restrict travel to areas designated by the CDC; and


WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary declared a public health emergency in the United States for COVID-19 under Section 391 of the Public Health Service Act; and


WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly declared a State of Emergency for the State of Kansas based on the public health emergency posed by COVID-19; and


WHEREAS, on April 6, 2020, a State of Emergency was declared for the City of El Dorado in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and,


WHEREAS, health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control, the Surgeon General of the United States, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have recommended the use of face coverings as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19; and


WHEREAS, the City Commission recognizes the importance of leading by example so as to promote an environment whereby schools may re-open in the fall, businesses may not be threatened by another shutdown, and the community may return to some semblance of normalcy sooner than later; and


WHEREAS, it is the desire of the City Commission to curtail the spread of COVID-19 within the City of El Dorado by encouraging citizens use masks or face coverings to discourage the spread of COVID-19 among friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the general community.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Bill Young, Mayor of the City of El Dorado, Kansas do hereby proclaim the following:


SECTION 1: Wearing of Face Coverings. All persons who are present within the jurisdiction of the City of El Dorado are strongly encouraged to wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with other people who are not household members in public or private spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance or where recommended social distancing practices are not being followed. These spaces include grocery stores, pharmacies, business locations, parking lots, sidewalks, and public transit. While wearing the face covering, it is essential to still maintain social distance insofar as possible since social distancing is the best defense against the spread of the COVID-19.


A face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.


Acceptable, reusable face covering options for the general public include: bandanas, neck gaiters, homemade face coverings, scarves, or tightly woven fabric such as cotton T-shirts and some types of towels. Citizens should exercise discretion when deciding to wear face coverings during individual exercise outdoors, or while walking or exercising with other people from the same household, as long as social distance from others is maintained.


All restaurant, personal care, grooming, tattoo, and retail employees and staff should wear a face covering while on duty. It is recommended that all businesses require customers to wear a face covering while inside the business.


Social distance, as referenced within this declaration, shall mean the current parameters established by the Governor by Executive Order and by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, including as such parameters may be amended in the future.


SECTION 2: Implementation. The intent of this proclamation is to encourage voluntary use of masks or face coverings by businesses and persons within the City of El Dorado. Law enforcement and other public safety and emergency management personnel are strongly encouraged to educate and encourage voluntary use of personal protective equipment.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of El Dorado, Kansas, to be affixed this 20th day of July, 2020.


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