What to expect with Sedgwick County's stay-at-home order: Questions answered

Photo courtesy: MGN

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Sedgwick County issuing a stay-at-home order starting after midnight Wednesday (March 25), comes with many questions concerning what people are allowed to do, where they can go and what businesses remain open. Eyewitness News is here to help you understand what lies ahead with the order issued to last 30 days.

QUESTION:
Are you allowed to drive through Wichita during the stay-at-home order?

ANSWER
There are no restrictions on driving. You're free to drive through town. The order just asks people to stay at home unless it's necessary to get out.

QUESTION:
Can you leave to visit family?

ANSWER
While encouraged to stay home, the order will not bar you from leaving to visit family. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment mandates a 14-day quarantine for Kansans traveling to states with widespread community transmission. These states include Washington, California, Washington, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. The quarantine mandate is also in effect if you travel to Eagle, Summit, Pitkin or Gunnison counties in Colorado.

QUESTION:
What businesses are considered essential and can stay open during the stay-at-home order?

ANSWER
If you're looking at something that you think is essential for you to live your life, then it's usually going to be exempt within the stay-at-home order. With the order, Sedgwick County lists 26 categories of businesses that are deemed "essential" and can remain open during the stay-at-home order. Some offices may change their hours or how they deal with the public.

QUESTION:
What rules are in place for businesses that are deemed essential and do stay open during the stay-at-home order? How will they maintain a safe environment?

ANSWER
Essential businesses have new policies to follow under the stay-at-home order. This includes designating six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance, having anti-microbial soap and water or hand sanitizer and hand-sanitizing products available for both employees and customers, implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers, posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue service by phone or remotely, and protective equipment must be provided to employees who have frequent contact with the public. This includes, but is not limited to gloves and masks.

QUESTION:
What type of outdoor activity is allowed during a stay-at-home order? Is hunting and fishing allowed?

ANSWER:
Outdoor activity is allowed and even encouraged during the order, but you should follow the same social-distancing guidelines, not gathering in any group of more than 10 people and maintaining at least six feet of space between you and another person.

QUESTION:
If severe weather hits, can more than 10 people be in the same storm shelter during the order?

ANSWER
Sedgwick County doesn't have public mass shelters, but this question to Eyewitness News involves a shelter at a mobile-home community. The county says seeking shelter from an immediate threat is a priority in such a situation.

Sedgwick County says residents are encouraged to go about their daily life, but please be mindful of social distancing - six feet between you and other people and limit gatherings to 10 people or less.

The county has compiled its own list of frequently asked questions. You can find this list here.

Sedgwick County officials say you should not call 911 with question about the stay at home order. The county set up a COVID-19 hotline at 316-660-9000. You can also email questions to stayathomefaq@sedgwick.gov.