WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Dozens of protesters held a rally outside of Wichita City Hall Friday over the noon hour.
They held signs saying they want all of Kansas to reopen. The state has been under a stay-at-home order for more than a month. It was supposed to expire April 19, but Governor Laura Kelly extended it to midnight, May 3.
Kelly announced Thursday night that she will reopen Kansas in phases, beginning Monday, May 4. A lot of businesses will not be allowed to reopen until phase 2, including hair and nail salons, gyms, bars and theaters.
The protesters KSN talked to say that is not good enough.
“We all have essential needs to be able to go out and provide for our families, provide for our community and be part of those things,” said Jim Price of Wichita. “To be locked down because she’s afraid of something, that’s fine, that’s her choice, but we get to go ahead and have our choice to be able to go out and live freedom the way that we want to.”
Some of the protesters have joined a Facebook group called Open Up Kansas. You can ask to be admitted to the group if you want to learn more.
Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell said he can understand the frustration.
“I think people are restless,” he said. “Today is 38 for the stay-at-home order and people are ready to get back to work. They want to get back to whatever normal is going to be in the future. People are tired of this.”
Some business owners said they are protesting because they feel like their shops are just as ready and capable to open as any other.
“We should have the freedom to continue to work and provide for our families,” said Betty Jones, spa owner. “There is no way that you can convince me that going to Walmart or the crowded garden center is a safer environment than coming into my spa.”
Governor Kelly’s plan goes into effect on Monday (May 4) after the stay-at-home order expires.
Sedgwick County Commissioners are expect to meet again on Wednesday to further discuss their plans.
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