WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A new, more restrictive public health order goes into effect in Sedgwick County at 12:01 a.m on Wednesday. The goal is meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and ease the burden on local hospitals that are at capacity for patients with the virus.
Under the order, bars, nightclubs and restaurants have to close at 11 p.m. They are also limited to 100 people in their business or 50 percent of the fire code capacity, whichever is less. Restaurants can only seat up to eight people per table with at least six feet of social distancing. Bars and night clubs may continue carryout and curbside services past midnight.
The mass gathering limit applies to fitness and health centers as well where wearing masks is limited during exercise activities and people are in close proximity for a longer period of time. These facilities will also be ordered to close their locker rooms except for what is needed for restrooms.
Retail stores are not considered mass gatherings however they will be limited to 50 percent of fire code capacity based on concerns about social distancing and holiday shopping.
The order also focuses on sports. All recreational and youth organized sports tournaments, games, practices and related events can continue but only two spectators per participant will be allowed. This would not apply to events governed by the Kansas State High School Activities Association and or/school boards.
Large venues (2,000 plus people) where 50 percent of the fire code capacity is still a large number and social distancing is possible must have approval from Dr. Minns to host events.
Religious institutions, election polling places, licensed child care facilities, schools and their activities, and courts are exempt from this order.
Commissioners also approved a resolution to enforce the order. Violating the order could result in a class I misdemeanor which could net up to a $500 fine. The resolution in unincorporated parts of the county. It will also be enforced within cities whose governing bodies enter into an agreement with the county and provide for enforcement within their own city limits.
The new order expires at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31. Mask wearing remains mandated with the new order.
Monday, November 10, 2020
Sedgwick County is urging residents to wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations increase. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Sedgwick County jumped from 111 on Nov. 2 to 178 on Nov. 9 (Monday). Those in the ICU for the virus also jumped from 60 to 80, according to the county’s' COVID-19 dashboard.
“COVID-19 is now clearly widespread in our community. Nearly 180 patients are being treated for COVID-19 at Ascension Via Christi’s and Wesley Healthcare’s Wichita hospitals. They continue to be at or near capacity, despite both having expanded those units in response to the ongoing spike,” said the county on Facebook encouraging residents to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep the county open.
As of Monday, the county reported 282 new cases and no new deaths. The percentage of tests coming back positive hovers around 21%. The Sedgwick County Board of Health will hold a special meeting on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. to discuss what can be done to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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