By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post
In a 4-4 vote and a mayor's tie-breaking input, the Great Bend City Council went in favor of city administration's recommendation to require mask wearing inside all city-controlled buildings.
City Administrator Kendal Francis noted while there are no mandates within Barton County to wear a mask, there has been an increase in positive COVID-19 cases within the county and Great Bend. Francis wanted to take the mask requirement step to protect staff and potentially prevent another quarantine incident with employees.
"We did have an incident in the Public Works department last week with approximately 10 people quarantined as a result of contact with a positive COVID-19 case," said Francis. "It is our understanding that had those people been wearing masks, that number would have been held most likely to the one person that tested positive."
City of Great Bend staff is now required to wear a mask while working if they cannot practice proper social distancing. The restriction for the public will be in effect for business hours only and will exempt the Wetlands Waterpark.
"The reason for the 'only during business hours' is because we do rent the Events Center after hours on weekends," said Francis. "During those off hours, that is a liability they take on their own whether or not they choose to wear a mask. I don't think that is something we should mandate."
The city will have masks available for the public wanting to enter city-operated facilities.