COVID-19 Legal Update: Kansas City Metro Area Mask Rules

by | Jul 7, 2020 | Legal Update, News

This briefing is not intended to and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Questions concerning how the law applies to your specific factual circumstance should be directed to one of our attorneys at the firm.

Kansas City Order

On June 26, 2020, Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas announced the latest amendment and update to the COVID-19 emergency response (“9th Amended Order”).

This 9th Amended Order went into effect as of Monday, June 29, 2020, and will remain in effect through Saturday, July 11, 2020, or until it is extended or rescinded. It applies to the entirety of the Kansas City including parts of the city in Platte and Clay counties.

Most notably, the 9th Amended Order states that all businesses in Kansas City must require all employees and visitors to wear face coverings indoors in places of public accommodation when activity will involve close proximity to others where maintaining six feet of separation is not feasible. Exceptions to the face covering requirement are as follows: (a) minors; (b) people who have disabilities that: (i) prevent them from comfortably wearing or taking off face coverings, (ii) prevent them from communicating while wearing face coverings; (c) people who have respiratory conditions or breathing trouble; (d) people who have been told by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional not to wear face coverings; (e) People who are seated in a restaurant, tavern, or bar and are actively engaged in consuming food or drink while adequately distanced from other tables. This 9th Amended Order allows businesses to refuse services customer who are not wearing face masks.

Additionally, the 9th Amended Order removes previous percentage capacity limits for businesses except for taverns and bars, which are required to limit occupancy to 50% of building occupancy.

The 9th Amended Order does not require but recommends that business collect and maintain customer records for a minimum of thirty (30) days for contact tracing purposes. The 9th Amended Order will be enforced by the Health Department and any violation of the 9th Amended Order will be a violation of city code and can result in fines, orders to suspend business operation, and other penalties.

A copy of the a 9th Amended Order in its entirety can be found here. Additionally, a FAQ issued by the city of Kansas City regarding the 9th Amended Order can be found here.

Jackson County Order

In conjunction with the Kansas City’s 9th Amended Order, Eastern Jackson County (defined as all areas of Jackson County outside of the city limits of Kansas City) released it’s Eastern Jackson County Recovery Plan Phase 2.5 (“Recovery Plan Phase 2.5”) which includes mandates on wearing face masks.

Under the new order all persons older than 2 years are required to wear masks covering the mouth and nose must be worn in: (a) public indoor spaces, including a workplace, business, school, place of worship or public facility such as a community center or library; and (b) A public outdoor space, including parks, playgrounds, farmers’ markets, bus stops and restaurant/bar patio seating and when using public transportation, taxis or ride-sharing services.

A copy of the Recovery Plan Phase 2.5 can be found here.

Kansas Executive Order

On July 2, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly released an executive order requiring face coverings be worn by residents in the state (“Executive Order”).

This Executive Order will go into effect on Friday, July 3, 2020, and will remain in effect through Saturday, July 11, or until it is extended or rescinded.

In addition to mandates to individuals, the Executive Order mandates all businesses in Kansas to require all employees, customers, visitors, or members of the public to wear a mask or face covering when:  (a) employees are working (i) in any space visited by customers or members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time, (ii) in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, (iii) in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities; (b) employees are in any room or enclosed area where other people (except for individuals who reside together) are present and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance except for infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity; (c) customers, members, visitors, or members of the public are in a facility managed by the business or organization.

The Executive Order provides exemptions from the mandate to wear masks for: (a) persons age five years or under; (b) persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering; (c) persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication; (d) persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines; (e) persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service; (f) persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment  that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided they maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together or are seated together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity; (g) athletes who are engaged in an organized sports activity that allows athletes to maintain a 6-foot distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity; (h) persons who are engaged in an activity that a professional or recreational association, regulatory entity, medical association, or other public-health-oriented entity has determined cannot be safely conducted while wearing a mask or other face covering; (i) persons engaged in an activity or event held or managed by the Kansas Legislature; (j) persons engaged in a court-related proceeding held or managed by the Kansas Judiciary; and (k) persons engaged in any lawful activity during which wearing a mask or other face covering is prohibited by law.

Enforcement of the Executive Order will be up the Kansas attorney general, county attorneys and district attorneys and has not yet been addressed by any of these offices.

A copy of the Executive Order in its entirety can be found here.

Johnson and Wyandotte Counties

Johnson County Commissioners have voted to support the Kansas Executive Order mandating citizens of their respective counties to wear face mask coverings. Johnson County Board of County Commissioners can be found here.

Wyandotte County issued their own order that went into effect on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Wyandotte County’s order comes before the Counties projected Phase 3 of the Ad Astra reopening which has been postponed until further notice. The County’s order requires all Individuals to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth when in a public, indoor space (including a workplace, business, or place of worship) and also includes outdoor public gatherings such as bus stops, farmers markets, places of worship and restaurant bar or patio seating areas. The order’s exemptions apply to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, children younger than five years old, and persons with medical, mental health conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a face covering. Wyandotte County’s order will function in conjunction with the Kansas Executive Order. The Wyandotte County order can be found here.

Conroy Baran remains committed in these trying times to assisting our business clients with their day-to-day corporate needs, as well as their mergers, acquisitions, sales, reorganizations (including Chapter 11), succession planning, corporate and securities needs, and can accommodate safe client contact through video conferencing and screen sharing, as well as the usual talk, text, and email.

Kyle Conroy: 816-388-9686
Robert Baran: 816-616-5009
Christopher Stewart: 816-522-1582
Bob Reynolds: 417-496-2467