“On July 9, 2020, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 3783. The Ordinance requires the wearing of masks or other face coverings in public spaces; addresses the requirements of persons, businesses, organizations, and non-profit associations; outlines specific exemptions from the requirement of wearing masks or other face coverings; and addresses the penalties for a first, second, and any subsequent violations of the Ordinance. A complete copy of the Ordinance can be found at www.osawatomieks.org or in the office of the City Clerk, 509 5th Street. This summary is certified by the City Attorney.”
This Ordinance will go into effect on Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 after publication in our local newspaper.
Now, what does this mean for you as a citizen of Osawatomie? Some of you may not notice a change in routine as many of these places had already implemented similar restrictions for their guests.
Dine-In: You’ll be required to wear a face covering when you enter the restaurant and while you wait for your table. Once you’re seated at your table with your family or friends, you may remove your face covering and enjoy your meal or beverage. When you’ve finished, the face covering goes back on, you pay your bill, and exit the restaurant. Your face covering can be removed once you’re outside, and you are not required to wear one in your vehicle.
Takeout: You’ll be required to wear a face covering when you enter the restaurant and while you wait for your takeout meal. Your face covering can be removed once you’re outside, and you are not required to wear one in your vehicle.
You’ll be required to wear a face covering when you enter a retail business in Osawatomie, and wear it for the duration of your shopping trip. Once you’ve left the business after your purchase, you may remove your face covering and continue on your day.
Face coverings are only required in outdoor public space when social distancing of 6ft cannot be maintained. For instance, if you’re on a walk or run you do not need to wear a face covering. Face coverings should not be worn while swimming at a public pool, but are required for those sunbathing or using the pool facilities (concession stand or restrooms), when 6ft of distance cannot be maintained at all times. “Public space” means any indoor or outdoor space or area that is open to the public; this does not include private residential property or private offices or workspaces that are not open to customers or public visitors.
Face coverings are required when indoors of any public space (including banks, churches, City-owned facilities, etc.) when 6ft of social distancing cannot be maintained at all times. “Public space” means any indoor or outdoor space or area that is open to the public; this does not include private residential property or private offices or workspaces that are not open to customers or public visitors.
Our enforcement approach is aimed at being educational rather than antagonistic. We want to educate people on the importance of face coverings during a pandemic, and what the risks are to both public health and our economy should people decide to ignore it.
We’ve developed an online form (found here) that allows people to submit noncompliance from businesses or individuals, and City staff will contact those with violations. Hopefully, after meaningful discussion, that first violation will be the only violation and we won’t have to revisit with them. However, for those who continue to fall into noncompliance, we will issue them a citation on their third violation with an associated fine of $25. On their fourth violation, a citation and fine of $50. For every subsequent violation, another citation and fine of $100.
PLEASE do not call law enforcement about face covering noncompliance, except in cases of actual emergency.
The goal of this Ordinance is to take a proactive approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than a reactive one. The state of Kansas has seen sharply rising rates of infection and larger outbreaks of community spread in recent weeks, and this Ordinance hopes to keep Osawatomie’s hard-fought low numbers from seeing the same spike. We cannot prevent the virus 100%, but we can slow it down and help keep our more at-risk populations a little safer.
There is also significant consideration being given to the possibility that a continued, sharp increase in positive cases could trigger another statewide stay-at-home order which would force our already struggling local business into another indefinite period of shutdown. We want to do everything we can to avoid that and this Ordinance, and others like it popping up in cities across the state, is one of the tools that can help navigate us away from even stricter regulations from our State leaders.
For complete information on this Ordinance, including full information on exemptions, please visit www.osawatomieks.org.