JoCo leaders sign open letter encouraging use of face masks to prevent COVID-19 spread

"Current mask-wearing mandates are an extremely important part of our efforts to once again flatten the curve," said the health officials. File photo.

Leaders from more than 100 of the Kansas City metropolitan area’s business, civic and nonprofit entities signed an open letter pledging to require face masks be worn in their facilities.

While some parts of the region fall under mask mandates, such as the Kansas statewide order Johnson County is adhering to, not each part is under a mandate, according to the letter. The letter — circulated by Comeback KC, a group supporting a unified, sustainable strategy to recover from COVID-19 — called on business leaders throughout the region to require the following firm policies:

  • Require customers and clients to wear masks.
  • Require employees to wear masks indoors when social distancing cannot be achieved and outdoors when in contact with others for more than 10 minutes.
  • Provide employees, customers and clients with “high-quality masks” (those who need them).

Tyler Nottberg, a Comeback KC founder and chief executive officer of U.S. Engineering Company Holdings, said in a press release that mask wearing is the region’s “best shot at a sustainable recovery.” Additionally, he said regional businesses can help to influence the community during this time.

“Business leaders have a unique role to play in this pandemic,” said Tyler Nottberg, a founder of Comeback KC and chairman and chief executive officer of U.S Engineering Company Holdings. “We can use our influence to help set behavioral norms that benefit the entire community.”

The entirety of the letter can be found online here. Below is a brief list of Johnson County leaders who signed the letter:

  • Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners
  • Tracey Osborne Oltjen, president and chief executive officer of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce
  • Julius Lai, senior vice president of digital and loyalty marketing for AMC Theatres
  • Leigh Nottberg, chair of the Nottberg Family Foundation
  • Eric Morgenstern, chief executive officer of Morningstar Communications
  • Rich Smith, president and chief executive officer of Henderson Engineers
  • Tucker Trotter, chief executive officer of Dimensional Innovations
  • Sheryl Wagner, vice president and director of accounting for Terracon Consultants, Inc.