Hays requiring masks to guard ‘safe’ reputation

Officials in college town want to make residents and incoming students feel safe.


State News

August 3, 2020 - 9:35 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Officials in a college town in conservative western Kansas are embracing a mask ordinance in hopes of making residents and incoming students feel safe, even as surrounding communities have balked at such efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

City officials in Hays, home to Fort Hays State University, voted last week to require people to wear masks in public. The response in the community has been mixed since the ordinance took effect Monday, with some businesses offering masks and refusing to serve customers who won’t wear them and others letting customers come in without them. 

“In Hays we brag about how safe and clean we are all the time and I want to make darn sure I can do anything I can to keep that reputation,” said Mayor Shaun Musil, who voted for the ordinance and also owns a wine bar in the city of 20,800 people some 270 miles west of Kansas City. 

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