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Gov. Kelly shares plan to reopen Kansas economy on May 4, but not all businesses included

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — Governor Laura Kelly announced Thursday that she will allow many Kansas businesses to reopen next week if they can maintain social distancing. She also added that she hopes to lift all state limits on mass gatherings and other restrictions by June 15.

Governor Kelly is lifting a statewide stay-at-home order on Monday, May 4. But her plan won’t allow bars, gyms, theaters, barbershops, hair and nail salons, or state-owned casinos to reopen until at least May 18 and local officials will be allowed to impose stricter rules.

Governor Kelly said, “We have been through quite an ordeal these last two months. The
breadth of change we’ve all been forced to accept in a matter of weeks has been drastic, disorienting, and utterly disruptive. In some ways, this crisis has brought out the best in us as Kansans. It has reminded us what truly matters in life, and how much we need each other, despite what this polarized world would have us believe.”

RELATED: Read full transcript of Governor Kelly’s response

Governor Kelly broke down her timeline in three phases and a phase out stage:

During Phase One, Governor Kelly said she will continue evaluating the state’s progress and, if appropriate, issue a new executive order moving the statewide baseline to Phase Two. This will occur no sooner than May 4, 2020.

Throughout Phase Two, Governor Kelly said she will continue evaluating the state’s progress and, if appropriate, issue a new executive order moving the statewide baseline to Phase Three. This will occur no sooner than May 18, 2020.

For Phase Three, Governor Kelly said she will continue evaluating the state’s progress and, if appropriate, issue a new executive order moving the statewide baseline to Phase Out. This will occur no sooner than June 1, 2020.

After Phase Three, once the state is in Phase Out mode, Governor Kelly said she will issue
additional guidelines to explain the health metrics that will trigger the elimination of all statewide restrictions. This will occur no sooner than June 15, 2020.

Phase One

Governor Kelly Phase One reopening plan

During Phase One, activities that will not be allowed include community centers, large entertainment venues with a capacity of 2,000-plus, fairs, festivals, parades, graduations, public swimming pools, organized sports facilities, and summer camps. Establishments that will not be allowed to open include bars and nightclubs excluding already operating curbside and carryout services, non-tribal casinos, indoor leisure spaces, fitness centers, gyms, and personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided. As for travel, minimizing or avoiding nonessential travel and following KDHE travel and quarantine guidelines for travel to high-risk
areas.

Phase Two

During Phase Two, activities that will not be allowed include large entertainment venues with a capacity of 2,000-plus, fairs, festivals, parades, graduations, and summer camps. Establishments that will be allowed to open include bars and nightclubs at 50% total occupancy, and non-tribal casinos if compliant with guidelines approved by the KDHE. Travel restriction include minimizing or avoiding nonessential travel and following KDHE travel and quarantine guidelines for travel to high-risk
areas.

Phase Three

During Phase Three, which is to begin no earlier than June 1, 2020, mass gatherings of no more than 90 people will be allowed. For employers, on-site staffing is unrestricted. Individuals have to adhere to personal hygiene guidelines and remain home if they feel sick. As for travel, nonessential travel can resume during this phase.

As for business and activity restrictions, All education, activities, venues and establishments may operate as long as they abide by mass gathering guidelines.

Phase Out

The final Phase Out period includes maintaining social distance where applicable, adhering to personal hygiene guidelines and to remain home if sick. Employers will have to follow any additional guidance for businesses and employees that are released at the time.

Governor Kelly said, “We don’t know yet what school will look like in August, or if college dorms will open to students for the fall semester. It’s unclear what steps we need to take to protect our elections in August and November.” She added, “I’ve heard heartbreaking stories about engaged couples left in limbo unsure whether they can proceed with their wedding plans. And I know that the thousands of hardworking Kansans who so suddenly found themselves without work are desperate for the certainty they need to begin their job searches.”

The governor continued, “Sadly, even if we do everything perfectly for the next few months, everything remains subject to the whims of this unwieldy virus, there’s still so much we do not know about COVID-19. Just a couple of days ago the CDC doubled the list of symptoms. Researchers also estimate that anywhere between 20 and 50% of cases are asymptomatic meaning people may have no idea. they are carriers and at high risk for infecting others. And although coronavirus is a respiratory pathogen largely attacking our lungs, a growing body of evidence also suggests potential links to stroke and cardiac arrest.”

Expanding on COVID-19, Governor Kelly explained, “We presumed those who have been affected and recovered from the disease, develop some type of immunity. But even that remains uncertain. And with summer approaching, we anxiously await an opportunity to learn how seasonality will impact this virus. Put another way, even if Kansans do everything perfectly for the next couple of months, new outbreaks are almost inevitable until a vaccine is developed, manufactured. and made widely available, but tonight’s framework is a starting point to this long slow transposition back to some semblance of the lies we remember from just a few short months ago,” she added.

The governor did not specifically mention churches in her address. Previously she said her administration had reached a settlement with the two churches that filed suit over her mass gathering limitations.

View Governor Kelly’s plan “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas,” in full (pdf)

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