Topeka Mayor stresses mask wearing amid concerns of Kansas adding more COVID-19 restrictions

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 6:30 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Mayor Michelle De La Isla said at her monthly news conference with City Manager Brent Trout Tuesday her concerns about Kansas possibly returning to phase two COVID-19 restrictions stems from likelihood the rollback could be prevented.

“This one is one that we can control the movement of our faces is one that we can control if we are able to be respectful of social distancing if we are able to wear a mask if we are making sure we’re taking the proper precautions then you don’t have those limitations on numbers,” she said.

Her response follows Governor Laura Kelly’s suggestion Monday that if COVID-19 cases in Kansas continue to rise, it may warrant sending the state back to phase two of her reopening plan.

That would mean limiting mass gatherings to no more than 15 people.

The mayor expressed confidence that Topeka businesses, like bars could navigate if restrictions needed to rollback.

“My hope would be that if this were to happen and I hope it’s not that our businesses would get very entrepreneurial and creative so they could have drive-up services or to have a few drinks you could have a bag with them that way they won’t go down or close down.”

De La Isla said she was discouraged by the politicization of mask wearing and people shaming each other regardless if they wear a mask.

“We forget to talk about the responsibility and we as human beings as individuals that live in communities have a responsibility to care for our neighbor and a mask is nothing but making sure we care for our neighbor.”

The mayor said she understood the inconveniences that come with wearing a face mask, but she said it’s worth wearing one if it limits the spread of the virus.

“I get it is an inconvenience, but it is an act of kindness,” she said.

“I don’t want to live with the repercussions that if I didn’t do something as simple as protecting my face that I could’ve potentially gotten one to five people at a minimum [exposed].”

Some people in Topeka agreed with the mayor’s sentiments on face masks.

“You do it for your own safety and to protect others so it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient but you do it for your health,” Pam Carson said.

“I think there’s science and data showing it’s important and it’s a good measure if we’re gonna keep places open then it’s something easy that people can do,”said Angela Zinn.

Mass gatherings in Topeka are currently capped at 45 people and face masks are required in most public spaces.

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