Gov. Kelly expected to ease restrictions on public gatherings
It appears Governor Laura Kelly is prepared to take the first step toward re-opening the state.
That comes from an agreement Kelly made in a lawsuit filed against her by two Kansas churches, who claimed her stay-at-home order violated their constitutional rights.
In court documents filed on Saturday, the governor stated she was prepared to ease restrictions once the current stay-at-home order expires on May 3.
As of Sunday morning, those documents have not been signed off by the court.
The document discusses the governor's intentions for a new order, set to take effect on May 4. The court document states, "As of now, those restrictions will not prohibit gatherings in which individuals can consistently maintain a 6-foot distance and follow other safety protocols (such as disinfecting surfaces, etc.). While the details may be subject to change between now and next weekend, unless there is a significant change in trends or status of the pandemic, the new restrictions will be significantly less restrictive than those currently in place."
Under the agreement with the two churches, the court will extend a temporary restraining order against the governor for two weeks. That will give the churches time to look over the new guidelines to determine if they believe they are unconstitutional.
Governor Kelly stated the churches have agreed to comply with safety protocols.
Governor Laura Kelly has reached a settlement with two Kansas churches who filed a lawsuit against her executive order that
Saturday night, Kelly said the agreement with First Baptist Church in Dodge City and Calvary Baptist Church in Junction City will allow her administration to move forward and focus their efforts on mitigating the spread of the disease and working to restart the economy.
The settlement comes less than a week before Kelly is expected to make a decision on whether to open the state back up or keep in place the mass gathering and disease mitigation restrictions.
Under the agreement, the two churches agree to comply with safety protocols put in place by the court.
“Since this case was filed on April 16, Ford County has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases going from 51 positives to 419,” Kelly said. “I know this is a difficult time for everyone, but I want to take a moment and thank all of the first responders and medical staff for their sacrifice. They are on the front lines of this disease and they are true heroes.
“Our job is to not make theirs harder. And, our advice to all Kansans remains the same - stay home and stay safe. We are bending the curve, but we must continue to be vigilant in our mitigation efforts.”
Eyewitness News plans to reach out to the governor's office for more details on the settlement.