Bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys among KS businesses still not cleared to reopen
While many Kansas businesses look forward to reopening Monday (May 18), others face a further delay as Governor Laura Kelly applies brakes to the phased-in plan to reopen the Kansas economy.
Phase 2 of the reopening plan was anticipated to begin Monday. While not stalling on Phase 1 that began May 4, Kansas isn't yet moving into Phase 2 either.
Phase 2 includes the reopening of barbershops, salons, gyms, non-tribal casinos and clearance for bars and nightclubs to open at 50-percent total occupancy. The mass-gathering restriction jumps from no more than 10, to a maximum of 30 people.
Thursday, Kelly announced a move to
where barbershops and hair and nail salons can reopen as planned but are limited to appointments only. This includes online check-in.
"Fitness centers and health clubs may open, but in-person group classes may not occur and locker rooms must be closed except as necessary to use bathroom facilities," the governor's plan says.
Bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues are among the businesses remaining closed for at least two more weeks after looking forward to opening next week.
While hospitalizations and COVID-19 related deaths continue to decline, the daily rate of disease spread "hasn't shown the downward trajectory necessary to move fully into Phase 2," Kelly says.
The Dockum in the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Wichita was planning to welcome customers again on Tuesday, but the hotel's general manager, Daniel Cornelius says Thursday's news from Topeka throws a wrench in plans for the bar.
"Despite that, we are bringing back employees and we will follow through with cleaning and training and developing our product, our menu to make sure that when we can open that we are opening with the best possible staff and quality of service and products."
Ahead of Thursday's announcement from Topeka, Jared Browning, general manager of Cana Wine & Cocktails says he recently learned there was a possibility reopening May 18 might not happen.
"I learned about the possibility that there was going to be no shift into Phase 2 a couple of days ago," Browning says. "So I've been keeping really good track of it because we're all definitely excited to get back to work."
Vorshay's Cocktail Lounge Owner Steve Peters also says the delay on moving into Phase 2 and clearing businesses like his to reopen didn't surprise him.
"I paid really close attention to (Kelly's) first press conference where she used some pretty cautious language," Peters says.
He expressed frustration that bar-and-grill type businesses are cleared to reopen while his standalone bar has to wait.
"It's annoying and it's getting pretty expensive, but our landlord has been pretty great to us," Peters says. "I've been paying our rent out of my pocket and just recently, he's offered to work with us."