HAYS — With protesters lined up outside City Hall of residents against face masks, the Hays City Commission on Thursday evening voted at its regular meeting to extend the city's ordinance requiring masks.


The ordinance went into effect at 8 a.m. Monday, July 27, and is set to expire at midnight Aug. 31, for people ages 8 and up.


The commissioners extended the ordinance until Oct. 5, voting 3-2.


During the meeting, five residents spoke against the mandate, along with a Salina physician, Amy Hogan, who spoke by phone about her concerns, especially for the psychological well-being of young children wearing face masks.


No supporters of the extension had signed up to make comments on the agenda item, although Mayor Shaun Musil read an email submitted by Heather Harris, medical director at HaysMed, who favors the mask ordinance, along with hand washing and social distancing.


Most of the more than 300 messages on a Facebook thread about the city commission vote to extend the face mask ordinance thanked commissioners for looking out for the health of the Hays community.


"God bless our commissioners. I hope they’re true to their word on enforcing it more strictly," wrote Anniston Weber.


"They made the right decision. Hopefully this will help save more lives and protect others from getting this horrible virus. You can't even understand the fear and sickness unless you've experienced it yourself or know a loved one who has. Hopefully you or your children never have too," wrote Becky Kellerman.


According to numbers updated by the Ellis County Health Department, there were 38 new COVID-19 cases reported in the county since Monday. Ellis County currently has 127 active cases with one hospitalization, according to the data updated on Wednesday.