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Update – Sedgwick County stay-at-home order: Frequently asked questions

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A lot of citizens have questions about Sedgwick County’s stay-at-home order.

The county gave us some of the frequently asked questions and their answers.

Q. When does this order become effective?
A. Wednesday, March 25, at 12:01 a.m.

Q. How long is this order effective?
A. 30 days, unless it is rescinded or extended.

Q. May this order be amended?
A. Yes, it may be amended by the Sedgwick County Local Health Officer.

Q. Does this order require that I have paperwork with me to explain my authority to go to an essential business?
A. No.

Q. Does this order allow hair salons, barbers, bingo halls and nail salons to continue operations?
A. No, they are not included as essential businesses.

Q. Does this order prevent children custody exchanges from occurring?
A. No. The order allows parents to transport their children for the purposes of child care by another and the order also clarifies that it would be an essential activity to comply with valid court orders, including any custody orders.

Q. Does this order require child care facilities to close?
A. No. The order indicates that, to the extent possible, child care facilities should place children in groupings of not more than 10 children such that children would remain within the same group (i.e., not switched from one group to another group), and with employees of the child care facilities only remaining with only one group of children.

Q. Can I still go to any of my medical appointments?
A. Yes.

Q. Can I still buy groceries?
A. Yes.

Q. Can I still buy gas for my vehicle?
A. Yes.

Q. Are restaurants and bars required to close?
A. No. Restaurants and bars can remain open, but they would not be able to serve food and beverages to patrons that would consume food and beverages within the restaurant or bar. Instead, the restaurant or bar would be able to provide food and beverages through drive-thru, delivery, or carry-out options.

Q. I’m moving soon. Will my movers still be able to move my things to my new residence?
A. Yes.

Q. Are banks, credit unions, and payday lending locations allowed to remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can mental health service providers and substance abuse service providers remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can my business have employees work from home?
A. Yes, this order encourages employees working from home when feasible.

Q. Can gymnasiums and fitness clubs remain open?
A. No.

Q. Can I still go for a walk or a jog outdoors?
A. Yes.

Q. Can golf courses stay open?
A. Yes, assuming participants comply with social distancing requirements (maintaining six feet of spacing) and there are no groups of more than 10 at such facility.

Q. Can leaders and employees from religious institutions still stream religious services or travel to provide religious counseling?
A. Yes.

Q. Can food cultivation, livestock, farming and fishing operations continue?
A. Yes.

Q. Can homeless shelters, food pantries and domestic violence shelters remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can hotels remain open?
A. Yes, to the extent that individuals may stay in rooms or get food that may be delivered or carryout. Conferences and banquets with seated dining in the hotel would not be allowed.

Q. Is there a limitation on the number of people that can be in a public gathering?
A. Yes. A mass gathering that brings together or is likely to bring together 9 people (Governor Laura Kely’s executive order) in a single room or confined or enclosed space at the same time should:

  • Preserve social distancing of six feet between people
  • Follow all other public health recommendations issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and all local county and municipal health offices

Q. What measures does the order expect essential businesses to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A. Where possible, essential businesses should:

  1. Designate six feet of spacing between employees and customers.
  2. Make hand sanitizer, anti-microbial soap, and other sanitizing products available to employees and customers.
  3. Have separate operating hours for vulnerable populations.
  4. Post information online about how to best reach the business and how services can be provided remotely.
  5. Provide protective equipment to staff members who have frequent contact with the public.

Q. Are mortuary, cremation and burial services allowed to continue?
A. Yes, but any related funeral services should comply with the 10 person limitation on public gatherings.

Q. Can my attorney’s office stay open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can my accountant’s office stay open?
A. Yes.

Q. I am closing on a new house next week, does this order require my realtor and the title company to be closed?
A. No.

Q. Can my insurance agent’s office remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can governing bodies for municipalities and political and taxing subdivisions still convene to perform their duties?
A. Yes.

Q. My water heater broke and flooded my basement. Does this order require plumbers to be closed down?
A. No, plumbers, electricians, lawn care and landscaping, painting and other trades who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses may continue to operate under this order.

Q. Does this order halt residential or commercial construction?
A. No.

Q. Does this order stop road repairs or ongoing bridge replacements?
A. No.

Q. Does this order allow libraries to remain open?
A. No.

Q. Can automobile repair shops remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can bicycle repair shops remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Does this order require arcades to close?
A. Yes.

Q. Can video game stores remain open?
A. No.

Q. Are pawnshops allowed to remain open?
A. Yes, as long as they maintain the social distancing requirements (maintaining six feet of spacing).

Q. Can tattoo businesses remain open?
A. No.

Q. Can bail bonds businesses continue to remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Are pharmacies required to close?
A. No, they can remain open.

Q. Are massage businesses able to remain open?
A. No.

Q. Does this order require adult entertainment establishments to close?
A. Yes.

Q. Can movie theaters remain open?
A. No.

Q. Can a home-cleaning service continue to operate?
A. Yes.

Q. Are home healthcare providers required to cease operations?
A. No.

Q. Can direct service providers for individuals with developmental disabilities continue to operate?
A. Yes.

Q. Can court-ordered guardians and conservators leave their homes to perform guardianship and conservatorship duties?
A. Yes.

Q. Can I take my pet to the veterinarian?
A. Yes.

Q. Can pet stores remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can general clothing stores remain open?
A. No.

Q. Can a clothing store that specializes in providing clothing to essential businesses (e.g., scrubs, uniforms to first responders) remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Are bouncy house and trampoline parks required to close?
A. Yes.

Q. My employer completes aerospace work. Does this order require my employer to close?
A. No.

Q. I work at McConnell Air Force Base. Does this order prevent me from going to work?
A. No, this order does not affect United States Armed Forces personnel and operations.

Q. Can I check on my elderly neighbor to ensure that they are OK?
A. Yes.

Q. Can liquor stores remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can I go to public parks?
A. Yes, but use of playground equipment is discouraged.

Q. Can an environmental testing laboratory for drinking water, pollutants or related matters continue to operate?
A. Yes.

Q. Can foreign language interpreters and sign language interpreters continue to operate?
A. Yes.

Q. Can car dealerships remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Can automobile repair supply companies remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. I’m currently on probation for a criminal or traffic offense. Am I still required to report?
A. This order would not impact any requirements for individuals to report for probation matters. Instead, it would be up to the court that has jurisdiction over the case to decide how probation reporting would be handled.

Q. Can food trucks continue to operate?
A. Yes, but the food truck company should not allow the food and/or beverage to be consumed on-site or at any other gathering site.

Q. Are swimming pools and water parks allowed to operate?
A. No.

Q. Can recycling collection stations and waste disposal facilities continue to operate?
A. Yes.

Q. Can utility providers remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Are public transit services affected by this order?
A. No.

Q. Would a restaurant supply company be allowed to remain open?
A. Yes, because the business would provide essential business (restaurants) with supplies necessary to remain in operation.

Q. Can I drive my elderly relative who does not drive to their medical appointment?
A. Yes.

Q. Are hearing aid centers essential healthcare?
A. Yes.

Q. Are retail stores that sell diabetic shoe fittings and insoles essential healthcare?
A. Yes.

Q. Is a marketing company considered essential services?
A. No.

Q. Are stores that sell educational supplies that are utilized by home school parents essential?
A. Yes.

Q. Can a store get into legal trouble for not closing?
A. Sedgwick County expects individuals and businesses to voluntarily comply. Reports of persons violating the order should NOT be reported to 911.

Q. Can small church groups under 10 continue to meet?
A. Yes

Q. Are tax preparers essential services?
A. Yes.

Q. Does AA and similar groups count as healthcare?
A. Yes.

Q. Does this stay-at-home order also provide a possibility for stay-in-your-car activities?
A. Yes, as long as you stay in your car and are not congregating in a group as is intended by the order.

Q. Are car washes and detailers essential?
A. No

Q. Would places that exclusively sell personal protection items (e.g., firearms, knives, and ammunition) remain open?
A. Yes.

Q. Is ride-sharing (Uber, Lyft) public transportation?
A. Yes

Q. Are alternative medicine shops or clinics healthcare?
A. No, unless the FDA has approved these alternative medicines for some purpose.

Q. Do businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, beverages, goods or services directly to residences include retail locations that are closed but want to fulfill online orders?
A. Yes, as long as they maintain the social distancing requirements.

Q, What about the departments within the educational institution that are not directly involved in facilitating distance learning? Are those employees to follow the order or is it up to the employers to require all employees continue to work?
A. The order allows educational institutions to remain open “for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions related to distance learning and support to other essential businesses.” They can remain open as long as social distancing is observed. If any of these employees can telecommute, that would be optimal.

Q. How are grocery stores able to operate since there are regularly more than 10 there?
A. People generally visit grocery stores solo, as a pair, or as a family. They are spaced around the store far enough apart to maintain the six feet recommendation. Public gatherings of more than 10 that are banned right now, people shopping in a grocery store are not considered a “gathering” because they are not in close proximity for more than a few moments. Passing by each other in a grocery aisle is safer than sitting in a room together for an extended period of time.

Q. Are hobby stores (Joanns, Hobby Lobby, Michaels) essential?
 A. No.

Q. Are tobacco and vaping stores essential?
A. No.

Q. Does the stay-at-home order limit what services an Essential Business provides?
A. The Stay at Home Order does not tell an Essential Business how to operate or limit what services they provide. It only directs them to adhere to social distancing guidelines when possible for the safety of their employees and customers.

Q. How can I submit my question to Sedgwick County?
A. Residents may call (316) 660-9000 or email stayathomefaq@sedgwick.gov if you have questions related to the order.

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