MCPHERSON — The McPherson City Commission passed, unanimously, a mask ordinance with no expiration date at a regular meeting October 19. The commissioners had been presented with an option that would have expired the ordinance in November. The ordinance will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 28.
The ordinance sets a $10 fine, with no court costs, for those who refuse to comply — thought the ordinance does contain exemptions.
"I have been an advocate of the people of this community," said Mayor Tom Brown. "No matter what we do, we get a landslide from the other side. ... The other viewpoint is not the opposition, it is not the enemy. Bringing this down to respectable place that we can deal with is what we have to do. Coronavirus is the opponent here, not each other. We have to help each other, regardless of what you believe."
The ordinance states facial coverings should be worn inside any indoor public space where distancing of six feet at all times is not possible; in line and waiting to enter any indoor public space; obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings; waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle; and while outdoors in public spaces and unable to maintain six feet of distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.
There are exemptions.
"COVID is open ended,’ said commissioner Gary Mehl said. "It has no ...stopping date. I do not want to look at yellow or red or that and change it every time something different comes up. I would like to leave it open ended to a date at the discretion of the commission and we form a consensus with the medical community of McPherson as to when it is safe."