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Kansas reopening
(AP Photo/John Hanna)

Governor Kelly slows Kansas reopening; limits to go into late June

Kansas’ Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday slowed down the Kansas reopening of the economy, ordering bars, nightclubs, casinos and bowling alleys to remain closed through the end of the month and keeping some restrictions in place until June 29.

She issued the new order despite the fact that rates of hospitalizations and deaths have declined and a contact tracing program is underway.

Kelly’s new order will allow barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning salons, gyms and fitness centers to reopen as planned Monday, May 18.

READ: While Covid-19 grabs headlines, Malaria kills over 400,000 per year

Salons must take customers by appointment only, while gym and fitness centers can’t have group classes or use their locker rooms for anything other than bathroom facilities.

A limit on public gatherings of 10 or fewer people will remain in place, rather than being increased to 30 on Monday as expected.

The governor will allow high school and college graduations to go forward, but only if indoor ceremonies are limited to 10 people at a time. Outdoor ceremonies are allowed with people 6 feet apart, or as “drive-through” events in which a family drives up to a stage, the graduate gets out, walks across to get their diploma, and gets back into a car.Kansas reopening

Bars, night clubs and bowling alleys must remain closed until at least June 1 under Kelly’s new order. Community centers, swimming pools, summer camps, organized sports games – and now even practices – are also prohibited until June first at the earliest.

The first phase of the Kansas reopening – which started May 4 – essentially let retailers, restaurants, childcare centers, libraries and churches reopen on a limited basis, though Social distancing and following of fundamental cleaning and public health practices were still required.

Most dine-in restaurants were able to resume indoor seating — but keeping groups of patrons six feet from each other – while still offering takeout and curb service.

In Phase One, Kansans were also able to reschedule non-coronavirus medical care they’d postponed because of the outbreak.

Under Phase 1.5, theaters, museums, arcades and other indoor gathering spots must remain closed. These would now be open with the rest of Phase Two, now set to go into effect June 1.

The third phase will now tentatively begin June 15, and would expand public gatherings to 90 people and allow all businesses, venues and activities to resume functions.

In this third phase, outdoor and indoor venues with capacity greater than 2,000 would be allowed to reopen. Fairs, parades, festivals, summer camps and graduation events would also be acceptable in the third phase. However, more than 90 people in one place continuously with no way to social distance themselves would seem to be restricted.


County & City Rules

Counties and cities can still come up with their own rules for the Kansas reopening, as long as they are not less stringent than the statewide rule. Some counties in the Kansas City area already have their own ideas of what is a safe reopening procedure.

In Kansas City, Mo., the mayor has recently eased up on the strict rules for that area. See our link to that story below.

READ: Jackson County eases restrictions for churches, other places of worship

Officials in Linn County filed a response Thursday to a federal lawsuit from two business operators. The county’s attorneys said a May 1 order by the local health director does not violate rights against unreasonable searches that are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The county said in its filing that the business operators wrongly suggest that the county would make blanket demands for information when the local health department would ask only for data about specific customers in contact with infected people over the previous month.

–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice

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