Mask up Winfield

A number of businesses in Winfield have this sign up in their windows encouraging other practices to stop the spread of COVID-19, although no signs requiring masks were found at any of the businesses on Thursday.

Winfield residents and business owners have voiced their opinions on wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ever since the Winfield City Commission approved an ordinance at their Monday meeting requiring masks in public settings where social distancing is not possible.

The ordinance, which goes into effect today, offers some exemptions, such as for people who are hard of hearing or participating in activities where masks are a safety hazard. It allows police to issue fines to people who are not wearing masks, although Winfield police plan to focus enforcement efforts on providing education and resources.

The ordinance comes after the Cowley County Commission opted to not follow a state-wide executive order requiring masks last week. Several other cities in Kansas, including Wichita and Manhattan, have enacted their own mask requirement after their counties rejected the executive order.

A post to the CourierTraveler Facebook page on Tuesday asking for people’s thoughts on the mask issue drew over 100 comments. Pro-ordinance responders tended to say that wearing a mask is a small thing they can do to help prevent spreading the disease to others. Many of those who are against the ordinance said wearing a mask should be a personal choice, and think citizens should have been allowed to vote on the ordinance. A petition has started to overturn the ordinance, and a number of people have said on social media they plan to only shop in cities where masks are not required.

“It is an absolute outrage. I can understand businesses saying ‘do not enter without a mask’ and considering it trespassing if you do enter without one, but making it a misdemeanor and fining people for being in public without one? That is ridiculous and wrong,” Jerry Perry said. “I support wearing the mask. But I cannot support fining a community, where the majority disagrees with the ordinance, and making it a misdemeanor. Apparently we as a community do not get our vote. We just have people make decisions for us? Like we are stupid?”

“I believe in freedom and think each business owner is an intelligent adult. They should be able to decide for themselves. I respect those who choose to wear a mask and those who don’t. Everyone holds their own beliefs in regard to this pandemic. We certainly can’t believe the big media or the tainted numbers, so no one truly knows the outcome,” Stacey Kielhorn said.

Wearing a mask is “not a big deal and pretty easy to do,” Pam Russell said. ‘We have so many seniors in our community that if I can help in any way to make it safer, I’m ok with it. It’s about compassion, empathy and kindness. So many are just about themselves these days. Just don’t understand how helping others is a bad thing.”

“I don’t think it’s a big deal, and I will wear a mask. I think it’s the least I can do for my community, my parents, family, and the people I work with. I simply don’t understand why anyone would want to penalize our hometown businesses just because our city commissioners are trying to keep the spread at a bare minimum,” Sandy Casebolt Bogle said.

Several Winfield business owners also took to social media to state their opinions on the ordinance and how it might affect their businesses. A common theme was that owners do not want to be put in the position of being enforcers of the mask ordinance.

A message on The Junk Generation’s Facebook page said the store will be open as planned. The ordinance will not be enforced there, and shoppers are also encouraged to not report non-mask wearers.

“We will not enforce the mandate in our store. To each their own,” Get Branded Custom Tees owner Amy Shepherd said in response to a message from the CourierTraveler.

Winfield Mayor Phil Jarvis declined to comment further on the ordinance, saying he didn’t have much else to say beyond what was talked about at Monday’s commission meeting.

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(2) comments

justmeh

Way to go Winfield! So proud to see the selfishness and sense of caring for others that I grew up with in Cowley still is alive and flourishing!!! So wonderful to see leaders putting people first over profits. So proud to see this stance as now living here in TX where we exceeded 11K new cases and the most deaths every in a single day (102) on 07/09 (almost beat the record NY had for the most cases in a day back in April), we thought we were fine also, starting reopening and being dumb about taking precautions and now it's exploding like nothing ever seen. We will soon surpass NY at this rate in total cases and our hospitals are become completely full and are running out of PPE supplies. So a mask ensures protecting not only yourself, but your family, friends and community. Thank you again for showing your compassion and care for everyone in the community!

Zimmy33

If you can't abide by the rules stay inside. You're harming others. Even if media was out of line witch it always is, on both sides of the fence. Those pro doing whatever are just as big of a problem. It's about not being selfish. It's a mask not a cast, catheter, or even a gas mask for the matter. Suck it up or get fined I'm all for the mask. People need to be better role models. Not look up to the big "orange child" running our nation. It's funny how the biggest person against media is the same guy on tweeter more than the green. Both parties aren't in my favor, fyi. But licking the crud of his whittle boots would be incredibly hard to do with a mask on.

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