Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly Tuesday afternoon said she planned to sign an executive order moving Kansas into phase 2 of her four-phase COVID-19 pandemic Ad Astra plan to open Kansas, effective Friday. This comes less than a week after Kelly issued an order creating a phase 1.5, delaying phase 2 until June 1 instead of mid May due to a lack of progress in halting the virus.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, all of my administration’s decision-making regarding our reopening efforts has been driven by data – not dates,” Kelly said. “Because of the great work Kansans and businesses have done to keep others safe, data now indicate we are seeing a more consistent decline in hospitalizations, COVID-19-related deaths and a consistent decrease in disease spread. This puts our state in a position to safely move into a modified version of phase 2.
“I would like to be clear – moving forward in Kansas’ reopening plan does not mean that COVID-19 no longer threatens our communities. Modifying Phase 2 to keep some restrictions allows us to reopen Kansas’ economy as quickly and safely as possible, while exercising necessary caution to keep Kansans healthy.”
Key changes to phase 2:
• Mass gatherings of more than 15 individuals will be prohibited;
• All businesses and activities slated to open during Phase 2 will be allowed, with the exception of bars, night clubs and swimming pools. These will be moved to Phase 3;
• Businesses and activities that will be allowed to open in Phase 2 include:
– Recreational organized sports facilities, tournaments and practices will be allowed to begin on Friday, May 22, and must adhere to social distancing requirements and follow Parks and Recs guidelines, which can be found online at covid.ks.gov;
– Community Centers will be allowed to open, except for indoor and outdoor swimming pools;
– Indoor leisure spaces such as arcades, trampoline parks, theaters, museums and bowling allies will be allowed to open on May 22;
– State-owned-and-operated casinos will be allowed to open once their re-opening plan has been approved by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment;
– 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;
– Everything opened in Phase 1 and Phase 1.5 remains open pursuant to the restrictions outlined in Executive Order 20-34.
• Phase 2 will last until Sunday, June 7, assuming the current trends continue. Phase 3 is expected to begin on Monday, June 8, with mass gatherings of more than 45 individuals prohibited.
Under Phase 2, the following, unless they are repurposed for use in an essential function under the Kansas Essential Function Framework, shall remain closed to the public:
• Bars and night clubs, excluding curbside and carryout services;
• Outdoor and indoor large entertainment venues with capacity of 2,000 or more;
• Fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades;
• Swimming pools (other than backyard pools);
• Summer camps (with the exception of licensed childcare facilities).
The Governor will evaluate the state’s disease spread, testing rates, death rates, hospitalizations, ability of state and local public health authorities to contain outbreaks and conduct contact tracing, and personal protective equipment availability when determining if the state should move to the next “Phase.” Regardless of phase, the State Health Officer retains the authority to impose additional public health interventions in any area that contains an emergent and significant public health risk.
Throughout all phases, Kansans should continue to adhere to hygiene and social distancing protocols, including:
• Washing hands frequently, while avoiding contact with one’s face;
• Remaining home when sick or running a fever;
• Following isolation and quarantine orders issued by state or local health officers;
• Wearing a cloth face mask when in public;
• Working remotely, if possible.
Kelly’s “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas,” is available in full at covid.ks.gov, in addition to industry-specific guidance for Kansas businesses.