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The Paola City Council, in a 3-2 vote on July 14, approved an ordinance that requires masks to be worn in public spaces. Pictured are: (from left) Councilman Dave Smail, Mayor Artie Stuteville and Councilman Trent Upshaw. Council members have reviewed the ordinance each month, and with cases on the increase, have decided to keep the requirement in place.

PAOLA — The wearing of masks in public places in Paola will continue to be a requirement following the Paola City Council’s monthly review of the ordinance during their Nov. 10 meeting.

City Manager Sid Fleming said new COVID-19 cases are surging throughout the state, and he recommended the council not lift the mask requirement.

“I think the need for the mask mandate is still there,” Fleming said. “From our standpoint, I still think it’s necessary.”

The council members agreed, and no action was taken to lift the mandate.

The city ordinance was first approved in July by a 3-2 vote, after the Miami County Commission overruled the governor’s executive order and approved a resolution making masks a strong suggestion but not a mandatory requirement.

The commissioners clarified that individual cities, school districts and businesses in Miami County may choose to set their own mask requirements, and Paola was one that chose to implement the mandate.

Gov. Kelly recently asked all Kansas counties to consider implementing a mask requirement, but Miami County commissioners chose not to change the ordinance.

COVID-19 cases in Kansas have continued to increase, particularly in the past month. On Oct. 12, there had been 67,862 cases reported in Kansas, including 771 deaths. A total of 469 cases had been reported in Miami County at that time.

On Nov. 16, one month later, the number of Kansas cases jumped to 122,741, including 1,266 deaths. Miami County’s case number has jumped to 786, an increase of 317 cases in the past month.

Editor and Publisher Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or brian.mccauley@miconews.com.

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