- Associated Press - Saturday, July 4, 2020

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Protesters who oppose a city ordinance requiring that masks be worn in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus gathered outside Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple’s home Saturday.

The Wichita City Council voted 4-3 Friday in a special meeting called by Whipple to require masks in public. The Sedgwick County Commission had voted Thursday to opt out of a statewide mask mandate from Gov. Laura Kelly, which the law allows them to do.

The Wichita Eagle reports the ordinance requires people to wear masks in public places where 6-foot social distancing is not possible.

The roughly eight protesters didn’t wear masks and didn’t meet the 6-feet social distancing guideline, which means they could have been fined $25.

Three Wichita officers stood near the protesters.

“… At this time we are choosing education over enforcement. Especially because it is a new ordinance,” Sgt. Brian Mock said.

Others around Wichita on Saturday weren’t wearing masks, either.

At a Kwik Shop near Whipple’s home, two of 12 people wore masks. One of two employees wore a mask. The one who did said she couldn’t force customers to wear masks and the employee not wearing a mask was her boss.

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