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Gov. Laura Kelly explains decision to slow reopening process with 'Phase 1.5'

(AP Photo/John Hanna)
(AP Photo/John Hanna)(KWCH)
Published: May. 15, 2020 at 1:46 PM CDT
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Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Friday for the first time since announcing her

took questions about the decision..

On Thursday, the governor's office released details on

saying "the daily rate of disease spread has not shown the downward trajectory necessary to move fully into Phase 2."

This new phase, which will begin Monday (May 18), allows salons, like hair, nails and tanning, barbershops and tattoo parlors to reopen by appointment only. Gyms and fitness centers can also reopen but group sessions or classes aren't allowed.

"Quite honestly, barbershops and nail salons and hairdressers are very equipped to sanitize. They do that anyway," Kelly said. "They’ll just ramp that up somewhat during this time. We felt very comfortable that they could do that."

Entertainment businesses like bars, museums, bowling alleys and movie theaters must remain closed under this phase, and mass gatherings are still limited to 10 people are less.

KDHE now reports 7,886 cases of COVID-19, 724 hospitalizations and 174 deaths, as of Friday. While the daily rate of the disease hasn't shown the consistent downward trajectory desired for a move on to Phase 2, Kelly mentioned hospitalizations and deaths are on an encouraging, downward trend.

With the addition of Phase 1.5, the overall plan to reopen Kansas pushes back at least two weeks. Phase 1.5 essentially replaces Phase 2 on the timeline, pushing the projected start of Phase 2 back until the start of June. If the state remains on the projected timeline, Phase 3 would start in mid-June with the state phasing out with several restrictions and gathering limits lifted at the end of June.

COVID-19 Press Briefing

Join me live at 2 p.m. for my daily press briefing regarding COVID-19 updates in Kansas.

Posted by Governor Laura Kelly on Friday, May 15, 2020

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