Prairie Village will not re-impose a city-wide mask ordinance, but city leaders are drafting a letter to send to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners urging proactive mitigation against the renewed spread of COVID-19.
Prairie Village was Johnson County’s first town with a mask warrant this fall, but that order expired on October 31.
At a city council plenary committee meeting on Monday, several council members said they were opposed to bringing back a city-wide mask mandate.
Instead, a majority of city council agreed that COVID-19 mitigation measures like a mask order should come from the county level.
Even if city council wanted to bring back a mask warrant, city staff said it was likely Prairie Village would be “in the minority” among other towns in Johnson County.
The full council committee ultimately decided to draft a letter urging the county commission to take action to mitigate COVID-19 in the Johnson County community.
JoCo cities “are done with this”
City administrator Wes Jordan said he has met with most city administrators in northeast Johnson County about their COVID-19 mitigation plans.
Jordan said the consensus was that cities would like something to happen regionally because âthere is strengthâ.
Council member Bonnie Limbird asked Jordan about other towns’ stance on the rally as a “singular force” to send a letter to the county commissioners council.
Jordan said that while there was a consensus that something should come from the county level, some towns are in a different location than Prairie Village.
âThey might not be as adept at doing something about it, I don’t want to name them individually, but they’re just not on the same page as us,â Jordan said. âWe may be in the minority on this point – a few like-minded cities, a few that aren’t, just the dynamics of their elected officials. [officials.]”
Mayor Eric Mikkelson said he chatted with other Johnson County mayors all the time about mask mitigation and most were not interested in warrants.
While there may be individual council members in other cities who are interested in mask mandates, Mikkelson said, a city-by-city approach “won’t hold back more than a handful of cities in the northeast. Johnson County to the max. “
âI would say the majority of towns in Johnson County are done with this,â Mikkelson said. “Mask warrants are not on the table, and probably won’t be for a number of reasons.”
Frustrations with the county
Several Prairie Village council members have expressed frustration with the county’s efforts to further mitigate COVID-19.
Council member Dave Robinson asked Jordan if there had been any advice given to municipal staff in the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment on how to tackle COVID-19 more aggressively.
Jordan said there had been no “proactive information” coming directly from the county health department.
Robinson suggested Jordan and his counterparts find a way to push the Department of Health to play a bigger role in COVID-19 mitigation.
“I just find it incredibly hard to believe that a department responsible for this exact type of area – at a time that I think we all call serious – is calm and not forward and is more advisory,” consulting and showing some more leadership, âsaid Robinson.
Council member Chad Herring stressed that he believes the county “is in a much more difficult political position” than Prairie Village when it comes to COVID-19.
Still, Herring said he believed it was the county’s obligation and responsibility to implement COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Others, like council members Terrence Gallagher and Limbird, agreed that more should be done at the county level.
Limbird has offered to write a letter to the county to institute some sort of mask mandate – even if there is no support from other towns.
“Someone has to take a step first, and I don’t want to wait any longer,” Limbird. âIf we’re waiting for something to be brought to our next meeting, it’s still two weeks. That’s hundreds of people with COVID, if not more. I don’t want to sit on my hands.
The Committee of the Whole Council approved the motion by an 11 to 1 vote, with Robinson in opposition.
Additionally, the full council committee unanimously approved the purchase of 100 home COVID-19 test kits.
The city council met again and unanimously approved the purchase of the test kits for an amount not to exceed $ 5,000.