Kansas plan to reopen economy announced by Governor Kelly

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas will end its stay-at-home order and replace it with a plan to reopen the economy.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced a new executive order this evening, April 30. It has three phases each setting regulatory guidelines. Throughout the plan, social distancing is still prominent but it allows many businesses to reopen.

You can view the updated plan here: Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas

The state’s stay-at-home order will expire May 4 and Phase 1 of the reopen plan will begin that day.

Kelly says local governments can’t be less restrictive than the executive order she’s laying out this evening, but they can be more restrictive. The only exception to this rule would be for businesses deemed essential under the KEFF Framework.

The Governor’s reopening plan is laid out in multiple phases. Moving to the next phase will be determined after looking at factors such as the state’s disease spread, testing rates, death rates, hospitalizations and more.

As of April 30, at 9:00 a.m., Kansas has 4,238 cases from 80 counties with 129 deaths reported.

Phase 1: Guidance

Phase 1 of the plan limits mass gatherings to 10 people or less. She defined mass gatherings as “instances in which individuals are in one location and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.”

Phase 1 of the plan lays out guidance for individuals and employers. For individuals it includes encouraging masks, maintaining a 6 foot distance from others, encouraging those at risk to stay home unless conducting essential functions and minimizing travel.

For employers, the plan encourages continuing telework when possible, avoiding large gatherings of more than 10 people on-site, phasing in employees on-site while maintaining a 6-foot distance between employee workstations, keeping sick employees at home and have them call their healthcare provider and limit business travel.

Phase 1: Business Restrictions

All businesses not specifically identified in each phase of the reopening plan will be allowed to reopen unless a local government issues an order prohibiting such businesses from reopening.

All businesses not prohibited can reopen if they can maintain at least 6 feet of distance between customers or groups of customers. They should avoid any instances in which groups of more than 10 people are in one location and are not able to maintain a 6-foot distance. This, however, does not limit the total occupancy of a business. It does require that businesses limit mass gatherings where physical distancing cannot be maintained, according to Governor Kelly.

The plan requires businesses to follow fundamental cleaning and public health practices.

Visits to long-term care facilities and correctional facilities are still prohibited.

The following businesses DO NOT OPEN open in this phase:

  • Bars and night clubs, excluding already operating curbside and carryout services.
  • Casinos (non-tribal)
  • Theaters, museums, and other indoor leisure spaces (trampoline parks, arcades, etc.)
  • Fitness centers and gyms
  • Nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors and other personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided.

Kansas Phase One Graphic

Phase 1: Education, Activities and Venue Restrictions

K-12 facilities remain subject to the executive order which limits the number of instructors, staff and students to ten or less. They will continue to follow the guidelines of the Continuous Learning Plan developed by the Kansas State Department of Education.

Higher education facilities that are closed are told to remain closed for in-person learning or events involving groups of more than 10 people present at a time.

Licensed childcare facilities can continue to operate as long as they follow state and local instructions.

Activities and venues not prohibited can reopen if they can maintain at least 6 feet distance between people or groups, follow fundamental cleaning and avoid situations where groups of more than 10 people in one location are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance.

The following activities and venues DO NOT OPEN in this phase:

  • Community centers
  • Outdoor and indoor large entertainment venues with capacity of 2,000 or more
  • Fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades, and graduations
  • Swimming pools (other than backyard pools)
  • Organized sports facilities and tournaments
  • Summer camps

Read more about the Kansas Plan here.

Release from the Kansas Chamber

Topeka, KAN – With the end of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s statewide stay at home order, the Kansas Chamber and its members look to get the state economy back on track.

“It has been a difficult few months for Kansas. Thousands of businesses were forced to close or reduce their services. Many had to layoff or furlough dedicated employees. More than 215,000 Kansans filed for unemployment during the last six weeks.” said Chamber President and CEO Alan Cobb. “Kansas businesses are committed to reopening, and to safely bringing back their employees and to safely serving their customers so our communities have confidence in our state’s reopening.”

Cobb continued, “The Chamber will continue to monitor how our state’s health metrics progress in the coming weeks and advocate for additional restrictions to be loosened or eliminated when appropriate, especially for businesses still restricted from opening their doors. More long-term damage will be done to the Kansas economy the longer all businesses are not allowed to fully operate.”

To jump start the Kansas economy, Cobb said the governor and Kansas Legislature should consider key legislation and reforms proposed by the state’s business community.

“Kansas was one of the last states to fully recover from the 2008-09 recession” said Cobb. “The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses and families will have long-term consequences if swift actions aren’t taken to remove barriers and encourage investments in our state. Kansas will lose more businesses and jobs permanently.”

Kansas counties and local health officials will have broad authority to issue stricter orders once the governor’s statewide stay at home order expires. Cobb cautioned it is important local restrictions remain reasonable and uniform across jurisdictions while also being necessary to maintain public health. Any restrictions should take care not to burden essential functions as laid out in the Kansas Essential Functions Framework.

“There is recourse if a county or local health officer becomes too restrictive or unreasonable,” said Cobb. “Orders issued by counties, so far, have implicated some due process requirements. While counties can regulate public gatherings, the previous county orders also have invoked the ability of counties to isolate individuals and make them stay home. Under those powers, Kansas businesses and individuals who believe they are unreasonably burdened by overly-restrictive orders generally have the right to a judicial hearing within 72 hours under K.S.A. 65-129c.”

Cobb explained at a hearing, the court must grant relief unless it determines that the order is necessary and reasonable to prevent or reduce the spread of an outbreak of an infectious or contagious disease.

“The local health officer also will need to show why he or she has reason to believe the person in question has been exposed to an infectious or contagious disease. The local order must be medically necessary and reasonable to prevent or reduce the spread of the infectious or contagious disease,” said Cobb.

Kansas businesses that believe a county or local health officer is unreasonable in restricting businesses or other activities can contact the Kansas Chamber at 785/-357-6321 or President@KansasChamber.org