Updated 07-10-2020 

On Tuesday, July 7, 2020, the Manhattan City Commission voted to enact a facemask ordinance.  Please read the frequently asked questions below to learn more about the ordinance and how it pertains to you.

Please do not call 911 to report an ordinance violation or with questions regarding the ordinance.

You can call the RCPD Non-emergent line at (785) 537-2112 or email: masks@rileycountypolice.org.

The RCPD will add to these FAQs as new information becomes available.

 

An individual must wear a mask when:

(1) Inside, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;

(2) Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings, including but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank, unless directed otherwise by an employee thereof or a health care provider;

(3) Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle; or,

(4) While outdoors in public spaces and unable to maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

 

What is the definition of a public space?

“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.

 

There are exceptions for wearing a mask:

(1) Persons age five years or under—children age two years and under in particular should not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation;

(2) Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering—this includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;

(3) Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, or communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

(4) Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;

(5) Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;

(6) Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided they maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together or are seated together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;

(7) Athletes who are engaged in an organized sports activity that allows athletes to maintain a 6-foot distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;

(8) Persons who are engaged in an activity that a professional or recreational association, regulatory entity, medical association, or other public-health oriented entity has determined cannot be safely conducted while wearing a mask or other face covering;

(9) Persons engaged in a court-related proceeding held or managed by the Kansas Judiciary; and,

(10) Persons engaged in any lawful activity during which wearing a mask or other face covering is prohibited by law.

 

Where can I read the City’s mask ordinance?

You can read the mask ordinance here: https://cityofmhk.com/DocumentCenter/View/60236/7488-Require-Face-Covering-070720

 

When did the mask ordinance go into effect? When does it expire?

The mask ordinance went into effect on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020, unless the City Commission cancels or extends the ordinance. You can check upcoming City Commission agenda items at https://cityofmhk.com/2823/City-Commission

 

What is the definition of a mask?

Mask or other face coverings; definitions. The following words or phrases when used in this article shall have the following meanings: (a) "Mask or other face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face. A mask or other face covering can be made of a variety of synthetic and natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. Ideally, a mask or other face covering has two or more layers. A mask or other face covering may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

 

What are the fines associated with violating the City of Manhattan ordinance?

Ordinance states:

Sec. 22-72. Mask or other face coverings; penalties; enforcement.

(a) A violation of any provision of Section 22-71 shall be punished as follows:

(1) For a first conviction, the person shall be punished with a fine of $5.

(2) For a second conviction, the person shall be punished with a fine of $10.

(3) For a third or subsequent conviction, the person shall be punished by a fine of $20.

 An additional court cost of $98 is added to all Manhattan City ordinance violation citations as set by Charter Ordinance.

 

What are the best practices for masks? How often should I wash or replace?

If you have questions about how to maintain a mask, please visit the CDC page about face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

 

How can I ask the Police Department questions or share concerns about the mask ordinance?

Email masks@rileycountypolice.org. Please do not call 911 for questions concerning the mask ordinance.

 

If I can’t afford a mask, where can I get one?

For locations to obtain free masks, please visit the Riley County Health Department website: https://www.rileycountyks.gov/Faq.aspx?QID=714

 

How can I report a person or a business or an organization who is not complying with the mask mandate?

The Riley County Police Department’s goal in addressing this ordinance is to educate and seek voluntary compliance for the benefit of public safety. Do not call 911 to report a violation. We prefer that you send an email to: masks@rileycountypolice.org or you can call our non-emergent line at (785) 537-2112. 

 

Do those who meet the exempt requirement need to show an officer proof of exemption?

RCPD Officers responding to reports of mask ordinance violations will not require written or electronic proof of an exception. If you are written a citation and believe that an exemption applies to you, you may need to provide proof of the exemption at Court.  

 

Do businesses and organizations need to enforce the mask ordinance for their customers and clients who come to their location?

Yes, the ordinance states:

(b) The persons responsible for all businesses or organizations in the city must require all employees, customers, visitors, members, or members of the public to wear a mask or other face covering as follows:

(1) Employees, when working in any space visited by customers or members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;

(2) Employees, when working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;

(3) Employees, when working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;

(4) Customers, members, visitors, or members of the public, when in a facility managed by the business or organization; or

(5) Employees, when in any room or enclosed area where other people (except for individuals who reside together) are present and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance except for infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

The Riley County Police Department asks residents to avoid confrontations with individuals or businesses that do not comply with the ordinance. Instead, please model best behavior of helping to protect your health and fellow residents’ health by wearing a mask appropriately.

 

Are houses of worship exempted from this ordinance?

There is no general religious exemption under the ordinance.  A house of worship is considered an “organization”, and must require employees, customers, visitors, members, or members of the public to wear a mask as stated above, unless a person or activity is exempt from the mask requirement.

However, the RCPD will take no action that would violate the First Amendment right of the freedom of religion or "prohibiting the free exercise thereof." 

 

Do I have to wear a mask while attending a religious service?

If the religious service is held in an indoor “public space,” masks must be worn.  If the religious service is held in an outdoor public space, masks must be worn when you cannot maintain a 6-foot distance between you and other individuals (who you do not reside with) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

The ordinance contains exemptions that may apply to circumstances that exist during a religious service which would not require a mask to be worn.  For example, a person may remove a mask to eat or drink at a worship service, and an officiant may remove a mask when communicating to a congregation that includes a person that is deaf or hard of hearing, and the ability to see the officiant’s mouth is essential for communication.

There is general no ordinance exemption for singing.  A mask would be required while singing, unless a different exemption applies.

 

I work in an office where the manager/owner is not requiring either employees or customers to wear a mask. What do I do?

First, you can check with your employer as they may have determined that the business or certain employees are exempt from the order.  If you still have concerns, you can then report this by sending an email to: masks@rileycountypolice.org

 

Do athletes have to wear masks when practicing or playing games?

Athletes should follow the guidelines and restrictions set forth by the professional or recreational association overseeing the activity.

The ordinance states the following individuals are exempt from wearing a mask:

“(7) Athletes who are engaged in an organized sports activity that allows athletes to maintain a 6-foot distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;

(8) Persons who are engaged in an activity that a professional or recreational association, regulatory entity, medical association, or other public-health oriented entity has determined cannot be safely conducted while wearing a mask or other face covering;”

 

Do businesses or organizations face different fines than residents for infractions?

No, the fine for the violation would be issued to the person responsible for the business or organization.

Ordinance states: 

 (b) The person responsible for any business or organization that does not comply with Section 22-71 (b) includes a sole proprietor, or any officer, partner, member, manager, director, or other supervisor for the business or organization, who may be held jointly and severally responsible for such violation with respect to any enforcement of the violation.

 

Can the ordinance be enforced in Pottawatomie County and Riley County?

Yes, City of Manhattan ordinances can be enforced within the city limits of Manhattan in both Riley and Pottawatomie Kansas. This includes the incorporated islands annexed into the city boundaries, for example, the businesses on Highway 24 near South Port Dr.

 

Can I wear a mask while conceal carrying?

Yes, you can wear a mask. Conceal carrying of a firearm is not an exemption under the mask ordinance.

 

Can the Mask Ordinance be enforced?

Yes. On July 8, 2020, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt confirmed that cities have the authority to enforce mask ordinances. “To the best of our knowledge, the Legislature has not enacted state law that prohibits cities from enacting local ordinances that regulate the wearing of facemasks,” Kansas Attorney General’s Office spokesman Clint Blaes said in a statement.