On Thursday evening, November 19, the Unified Government Commission voted to extend its previous mask order for Kansas City, Kansas and the unincorporated area of Loring in Wyandotte County through midnight on Jan. 6, 2022.

The same mask requirements and exemptions from the original order remain in place. Masks will continue to be required in indoor public spaces for people who are vaccinated and people who are unvaccinated.

The order excludes public and private schools and also excludes the cities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville, Kansas.

When adopting the original order on Aug. 5, 2021, the UG Commissioners opted to leave the decision of mask requirements to school boards and to Bonner Springs and Edwardsville elected officials, respectively. Unified Government Commission Meeting Update At the Unified Government Full Commission meeting last night, representatives from the Unified Government Public Health Department (UGPHD) presented a COVID update and recommended a mask order extension until early January.

UGPHD representatives noted several considerations for extending the mask mandate:

• Winter weather and the holidays mean more time indoors, where COVID spreads more easily.

• COVID surges are being seen now across the country and in Europe.

• Children under 5 are still ineligible for COVID vaccination.

• Nearly half of people living in Wyandotte County remain unvaccinated.

• Immunity is waning for people vaccinated more than six months ago.

• Hospital resources remain under pressure.

You can view a recording of the meeting on the Unified Government of Wyandotte County / Kansas City, KS YouTube page (COVID update begins at 50:25): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlnroP5q04o

What is Covered by the Mask Order

Individuals age five and older must wear masks over the nose and mouth when:

• Inside any public space including businesses and places of worship;

• Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, vaccination site, COVID-19 testing site, veterinary clinic, or blood bank (unless otherwise directed by an employee or healthcare provider);

• Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle; and

All businesses or organizations in Wyandotte County must require all employees, customers, visitors, members, or members of the public to wear a mask or other face covering when:

• Employees are working in any space visited by customers or members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time; or

• Employees are working in an indoor space; or

• Employees are working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others; or

• In any indoor space where members of the general public are present or may be periodically present

Free Vaccinations Available for People Ages 5 and Older

The UGPHD continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccines for people who live in Wyandotte County ages 5 and older, at the former Kmart site at 7836 State Avenue.

Hours for COVID19 vaccinations and testing are as follows (NOTE: All of these services are free of charge!):

• COVID Testing: Monday – Friday 9 am – 3 pm

• COVID Vaccines: Wednesday – Friday 10 am – 6 pm.

Holiday hours: Closed November 25 and 26 for Thanksgiving

Last two weeks of December: Monday – Wednesday, 10am – 6pm

COVID vaccinations are now available for people ages 12 and older at the UGPHD building at 619 Ann Ave in downtown KCK, Monday and Tuesday mornings, by appointment only. Call 913-573-8855 to make an appointment.

For more information on where to get vaccinated in Wyandotte County, visit WycoVaccines.org or call 3-1-1. To learn more about upcoming UGPHD mobile vaccination events visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/UGHealthDept

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