Gov. Kelly explains lifting stay-at-home order

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Next week could look different in many places when the statewide-stay-at-home order is lifted Sunday night.

Restaurants and libraries can start opening their doors to more people. Churches will not have capacity restrictions.

“As long as they can have people within the church and maintain social distancing among non-family groups, then they are able to have services,” Governor Laura Kelly said.

There will still be a 10 person limit on public gatherings. Kelly said she wanted to give local governments control on what restrictions to put in place after that.

“In our plan that we rolled out, that’s the baseline. These are the lowest common denominator. Any local unit that wants to impose more restrictions is free to do that, and is actually encouraged to do that if the situation on the ground for them indicates that,” Kelly said.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman said with more test kits arriving, he wants the state to get to 60,000 tests performed in May. That’s two percent of the state’s population. More than 33,000 have been conducted so far.

“It helps us to predict where do we need to spend more time and effort, where do we need to spend less time and effort,” Norman said. “COVID-19 is not evenly spread around the state, and that’s why I think the strength of the plan is that it allows for, in areas where there’s more of a problem, to have tighter restrictions.”

The governor’s plan will slowly reduce what is banned in phases through May and into June.
She said that health officials will be watching what numbers do to see if changes need to be made.

“I don’t think we’ll see us reducing it, so phase one will stay for the two weeks. The only way it would go is if we extend it beyond that because the health indicators suggest we do that,” Kelly said. “We’re very comfortable that we’ve got the safety precautions in there that will allow us to roll out a gradual, slow process of reopening.”

When the phase out period begins in June, Kelly said people are still expected to follow public health guidelines. She said the normal life won’t be completely possible to return to until a vaccine arrives.

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