JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -- Johnson County commissioners on Thursday morning lifted the county's mask mandate by a vote of 5-1, in a move that takes effect this Saturday.
The commission approved the measure following almost two hours of public input and discussion among the county officials. The county's new health order, starting May 1, still strongly recommends that residents wear masks, socially distance and get vaccinated, but it no longer requires masks in indoor public spaces.
County officials had similar discussions last month concerning the mandate, which has lasted throughout most of the pandemic, before extending Johnson County's mask mandate by a month.
Outside the meeting, several anti-mask supporters cheered on the decision, holding up signs that read, "End All Mask Mandates Across the Board" as well as anti-vaccination messages.
Daniel Austin, one of the supporters, came to comment publicly on the resolution. After the meeting he said it was the right decision.
"I hope people stand up and take off their masks," he said. "I hope more people go out and do things."
The chair of the Board of Commissioners, Ed Eilert, voiced his support for the resolution just before the vote, explaining "It's a recommendation. It eliminates the requirement, eliminates the mandate and puts people in a position to make their own decisions."
Businesses, schools, places of worship and individual cities may set their own requirements under resolution.
Across the street from the meeting, Doug Flick listened to the Facebook livestream from his restaurant. flick owns Park Street Pastry, a coffee shop in downtown Olathe.
Flick said he has never been a big fan of requiring masks.
"I feel comfortable letting people who come into the shop make the decision for themselves," he said.