Sedgwick County Commission recommends doing away with stay-at-home order
With Kansas Governor Kelly expected to soon announce the May 3 end to the statewide stay-at-home order, Sedgwick County is beginning to make preparations of its own for reopening.
Counties have the authority to extend orders beyond the end of the statewide order, but Sedgwick County commissioners don't seem interested in such an option.
It will ultimately be up the Sedgwick County's health officer on whether to extend the county's order beyond the state, but the county commission did take action Wednesday, recommending that the local stay-at-home order ends.
The recommendation includes a plan for county leaders to collaborate with Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns to develop a person-limit policy for the county.
The ability to test more people for COVID-19 in Sedgwick County has been discussed as a catalyst to reopen the county.
That said, Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne says making a plan to open is tricky because COVID-19 is tricky.
"COVID-19 is a moving target. New information comes through every day, sometimes two or three times a day," Byrne says. "We'll have a plan to do something and then something is modified."
Sedgwick County Commissioner Pete Meitzner says a meeting took place Friday (April 24) with business owners around the county.
Meitzner says the owners pitched ideas of how they will institute new social distancing practices to safely reopen.
"They don't want to harm their employees, they don't want to harm the public," says Meitzner.
Mayor Brandon Whipple told Eyewitness News he supports what Commissioner Meitzner and the county are doing to safely reopen businesses. He says both the city and the county are on the same page when it comes to reopening.
Whipple says to get back up and running, the city needs to gradually reopen.
"To do this right, you have to look at the long term, not just the short term... particularly when it comes to the economic benefits of getting back to a safe normalcy" says Whipple.
Both Whipple and Meitzner urged people to remember you have the choice if you want to visit any businesses when they do reopen. Each said to do what you think is best for you and your family.
The governor's stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 3. County officials say if the number of positive cases remain low, they will recommend businesses be reopened in Sedgwick County.
Gov. Laura Kelly says her goal is to start reopening the Kansas economy on May 3 but she may not be able to do it because the state is “nowhere near” having the supplies needed for adequate coronavirus testing.
Kelly’s comments Thursday came after hundreds of people protested around the Statehouse against a stay-at-home order from the governor set to expire May 3.
Kelly said a key issue in lifting restrictions is being able to test enough to identify and contain outbreaks quickly and take steps to contain them locally.
Kansas has struggled to get enough supplies from the federal government and private companies.