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Kansas lawmakers discuss importance for state to avoid shutdown

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 9:42 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As more states are going back to shutdowns and other restrictions, Kansas lawmakers emphasize the importance of keeping the Sunflower State from reaching that point.

“There are better options versus shutting down our economy and keeping people at home,” said Kansas Rep. Stephen Owens. “We all just need to do our part to slow the spread.”

Owens, representing the state’s 74th district in northeast Kansas, said shutting down businesses is not fair to those directly impacted.

“Every business is essential to somebody,” said Owens. “The business owners, the employees, the people who depend on hat business, so to deem something essential versus non-essential is not okay.”

Kansas Senate Majority Leader, Jim Denning agrees. He said it all comes down to personal responsibility.

“It’s very important that everybody in Kansas to avoid a lockdown, nobody wants a lockdown, so at 9 or 10 o’clock start heading home from the bars and restaurants, wear your masks, wear it for yourself, wear it for your family, wash your hands, and stay away from groups.” Said Denning.

In the Wichita area, Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell said even though a stay-at-home order is not something being discussed right now, people could start seeing more restrictions.

“If we don’t do anything about it, and things continue as they are, we’re going to see more difficult orders coming from the county,” said Howell. " I don’t like it. I know a lot of people who don’t like it, but I do think that’s probably where the county is going to be headed to."

Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Gerald Minns said although lockdowns are proven to be effective, he doesn’t think we are at that point.

“To me, that would only be if we don’t have the ability to take care of people getting sick,” said Dr. Minns. “We have no place to put them.”

Friday at the state’s Finance Council meeting, lawmakers extended Governor Kelly’s emergency powers. This gives her the ability to shut down businesses for two weeks.

Denning said Kelly has said she has no intention on doing that. Eyewitness News reached out to the governor’s office but did not hear back.

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