WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Wichita is starting to reopen some buildings and services for citizens as it continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple held a news conference Thursday morning to provide updates.
“We want to make sure that we not only open the city safely but also get back to provide the services that people expect from us,” he said.
Whipple said they are taking a measured approach to reopening City Hall. Masks will be required in all city facilities.
Proposed Reopening Schedule
May 23 – All City of Wichita golf courses
May 26 – Wichita City Hall, all Wichita Public Libraries (see below for complete details), except the Linwood branch, Municipal Court
June 1 – CityArts, dog parks, Linwood branch library, neighborhood resource centers, park facilities, rentals and playgrounds
June 2 – Cowtown
June 15 – Century II, fitness centers and water center public tours
June 16 – Keeper of the Plains fire pots, Mid-America All-Indian Center
June 23 – Wichita Art Museum
July 1 – City Hall public meetings and fire station public tours
The dates are subject to change depending on the status of the coronavirus in Wichita. The city says it will post updates on Wichita.gov/coronavirus.
The mayor made a point of saying that they are following state and CDC guidelines.
Wichita Public Library
Sean Jones, Wichita Public Library communications specialist, said the library is moving into the next phase of reopening. It has been offering curbside pickup for the past two weeks and that service will continue.
But beginning Tuesday, May 26, all Wichita Public Library locations, except for the Linwood branch, will reopen with limited in-person services:
- Public computers and Wi-Fi services available but with limited seating capacity
- Print, copy and fax services will be provided
- “Book a Librarian” and technology help will be by appointment only and only at the Advanced Learning Library
Part of teach library will be blocked from public use. Customers will not be allowed to browse the shelves. Library staff will provide a concierge service to retrieve materials for customers.
Collaboration rooms will be taken out of service and the Research Pavilion at the Advanced Learning Library will be closed during this time.
Children’s areas at all locations will also be closed during this time, and furniture will be rearranged or removed to encourage social distancing.
Most visitors and employees will be required to wear a mask. The exceptions are children aged 2 and younger, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who has trouble removing a mask without assistance.
Building capacity limits are being reduced for social distancing and floors will be marked in 6-foot increments in high traffic areas.
The first hour of operation Monday through Saturday at all locations will be reserved for vulnerable populations. This includes senior citizens, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and other at-risk populations.
No in-person programs, events, or meeting rentals will take place until a later date.
No material donations will be accepted. The Friends of the Wichita Public Library used bookstore will be closed until a later date.
For more information or visit WichitaLibrary.org.
Municipal courts reopen Tuesday, May 26. Court Administrator Nathan Emmorey joined the mayor to discuss the specifics.
“One thing that’s really important to know and understand is that every court date has changed because of this crisis and because of changes in our documents,” he said. “Every court date that had been scheduled in the past, and in the future has changed to fit new docketing structures.”
Emmorey said residents should visit Wichita.gov/court and use the docket search tool to find their new court date.
He said they have changed trial schedules to allow for social distancing. There are seating locations in each courtroom so that people will know where they are supposed to sit.
Probation will be moving to virtual reporting. Probation officers will reach out to their clients to schedule online meetings. If a client does not have that technology, they can go to the probation office and use a virtual reporting station to meet with their probation officer.
Emmorey said they are expanding the walk-in docket to allow people to take care of their warrants.
For additional information regarding a case, residents may also call the Clerk’s office at (316) 268-4611 or the Probation office at (316) 268-4582.
Customers will still be able to pay cash, but they are encouraged to use credit cards and pay through the city’s phone and web system to reduce traffic at City Hall.
Masks will be required. If visitors do not have them, they will be given one.
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