City leaders hopeful for re-opening of public pools

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly announced on Tuesday a modified phase two will go into effect on Friday, May 22. The phase does not include the reopening of swimming pools and other aquatic parks.

“Businesses and activities slated for phase two will be allowed to open with the exception of bars, nightclubs, and swimming pools,” said Governor Laura Kelly.

The Superintendent for the Hays Recreation Commission says he’s hopeful the the pools will reopen for everyone to enjoy.

“Hopefully, we can open, and hopefully, it’ll be a good summer, and it’ll be an outlet for people in Hays,” said Roger Vixenman.

Vixenman says they’re ready to modify their plans and adhere to any changes the governor makes.

“Who knows, maybe next week something else comes around, and we’re able to go back to the June 6th opening,” said Vixenman.

The Hutchinson Recreation Director of Marketing and Development, Amy Conkling, says they’ve been working tirelessly to reopen the water parks and pools for everyone in the community.

“We’ve been pretty forthcoming from the beginning that we’re committed to opening the pools. We wanted to fight for summer and we believed firmly that summer is coming and we will adapt to however we need to,” said Conkling.

Both Conkling and Vixenman say they will follow recommended guidelines from health professionals to ensure the safety of everyone inside the facilities. 

“We’re hiring additional staff specifically to attend to the facility, to clean it down, to wipedown those common points,” said Conkling.

“We’ve put up barriers for our admission staff upfront, our concession staff will have barriers,” said Vixenman.

Modified Phase 2

  • Mass gatherings restricted to 15 people or fewer
  • All activities slated for Phase 2 will be allowed to open, with the exception of bars, nightclubs, and swimming pools
  • State-owned casinos may open if they comply with KDHE guidelines
  • Arcades, trampoline parks, theaters, museums, bowling alleys and other leisure spaces may open
  • Organized sports tournaments and practices will be allowed but must adhere to guidelines and social distancing requirements laid out by the Kansas Recreation and Park Association
  • In-person group exercise classes will be allowed to begin with groups of no more than 15 at a time, locker rooms remain closed except for restroom facilities

Some places are still closed under Phase 2. They include large entertainment venues with capacities of 2,000 or more, fairs, festivals and parades.

“I trust that all Kansans will continue to place their own safety, health and well being, and that of their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers first and foremost as we continue reopening our state,” said Kelly. “We may be transitioning to Phase 2, but we still have a long way to go before arriving at anything bordering on normal in Kansas.”

She said the coronavirus numbers are trending in the right direction, but she said the threat is still present, especially for those who are in high risk categories.

“On the economic front, the toll of business closings and job losses has been staggering, which is why we must bring all forces to bear in getting Kansas back to work and our economy humming,” she said.

Kelly announced a SPARK Task Force. SPARK stands for “Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas.”

She said the team will be comprised of business and community leaders from across Kansas.

Kelly said that Phase 3 of the reopening plan will begin Monday, June 8 if the data supports it.

The governor made her announcement the day before she meets with President Donald Trump at the White House.

With Memorial Day coming this weekend, the state also issued detailed guidance for commemorating the holiday in new report titled, “Safe Memorial Day Guidance”.


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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