Kansas governor slows reopening; limits to go into late June

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 3:17 PM CDT
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Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has slowed down the reopening of Kansas’ economy. Kelly on Thursday ordered bars and bowling alleys to remain closed through the end of the month and plans to keep some coronavirus-inspired restrictions in place until near the end of June.

Kelly’s new order takes effect Monday and is likely to stir strong opposition in the Republican-controlled Legislature. What's considered

of the framework for reopening Kansas includes a continued limit on public gatherings of 10 or fewer people, rather than being increased to 30 on Monday as was expected with a move to Phase 2. Kelly is allowing barbershops and hair and nail salons, tanning salons and tattoo parlors to reopen as planned but limiting them to appointments only. This includes online check-in.

As with Phase 1, churches can gather for worship as long as they have space to socially distance.

Theaters, state-owned casinos, "indoor leisure spaces," like trampoline parks arcades, etc., community centers, outdoor and indoor large-entertainment venues with capacity of 2,000 or more, fairs, festivals, carnivals and parades, as well as public swimming pools remain closed.

Organized sports facilities, sports tournaments, games and practices, as well as summer camps are also held off.

“The good news is that hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths continue to decline, enabling us to move forward with our efforts to safely reopen Kansas,” Kelly says. “Unfortunately, the daily rate of disease spread has not shown the downward trajectory necessary to move fully into Phase 2. I said from the beginning that public safety must remain the top priority, which means that our reopening efforts must be driven by data, not dates. Phase 1.5 will continue our transition, but with necessary caution.”

The governor's office says Kelly will evaluate the state's disease spread, testing rates, death rates, hospitalizations, ability of state and local health officials to contain outbreaks. Continued contact tracing and personal protection equipment availability are also considered when determining if the state should move to the next "Phase."

"Regardless of phase, the State Health Officer retains the authority to impose additional public health interventions in any area that contains an emergent and significant public health risk," Kelly's office says.

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