Update: The special session for the Unified Government’s Board of Commissioners has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday. This story has been updated to reflect the change.
Health officials will meet with Wyandotte County leaders in a special session Thursday evening to discuss COVID-19 and any health order recommendations, a spokeswoman for the Unified Government said Wednesday.
Unified Government mayor and CEO David Alvey called the special session to be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Fifth Floor conference room at City Hall, 701 N. 7th Street in Kansas City, Kansas.
“The Unified Government Public Health Department will be presenting the latest data on COVID-19 and any recommendations to the Board of Commissioners,” said Ashley Hand, director of strategic communications for the Unified Government. “The elected Commission is the only body that is able to make any public health orders in Kansas, per state law.”
The packet for the meeting was not yet available, so it was uncertain what, if any, recommendations including a return to a mask mandate, would be made.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidelines Tuesday afternoon, saying individuals — including those who’ve been vaccinated — should wear masks indoors where the risk of transmission is considered high or substantial.
“The situation is changing rapidly, but I can say that we as a community have typically followed CDC guidelines,” Hand said. “It will be up to the elected Commission, however, to issue any health orders such as a mask mandate.”
Earlier this year, the Kansas Legislature passed legislation curtailing Gov. Laura Kelly and local health officials emergency powers. A Johnson County judge earlier this month ruled the law unconstitutional. Judge David Hauber on Tuesday issued an order confirming the health officials would retain their powers while the Kansas Attorney General appeals the decision to the Kansas Supreme Court.
Under preexisting laws, the commission would have the power to rescind an order from health officials.
Because of COVID-19, members of the public will not be able to attend in person. Instead, they will be able to observe or listen to the special meeting only live on YouTube or UGTV, or through Zoom. They may also view the special session from the lobby of the Municipal Office Building.
See the notice below for directions on how to attend through Zoom.
Kansas City, Missouri, mask mandate
Kansas City will once again be under a mask mandate.
Under new guidance issued by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas Wednesday morning, the mandate will require masks indoors for everyone older than 5 years old, regardless of their vaccination status, when social distancing cannot be maintained.
It goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 2 and lasts until at least 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28. Kansas City lifted its previous mask mandate in May.
Lucas announced late Tuesday night that the city would return to masking up, making it the second Missouri metro to return to masks after St. Louis’ mandate went into effect Monday.
Cortlynn Stark contributed reporting