How southeast Kansas will manage taking over COVID-19 issues

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. – We’re learning more about how counties in Kansas will make COVID related decisions after the governor returned control to local authorities.

Although control over COVID related issues has been returned to Kansas counties, some local officials feel they still need more state guidance on some issues. County Commissioner Jeremy Johnson says “You can say yes it’s up to local jurisdictions but if we don’t have the statutory authority we can’t do anything, it’s a suggestion if we were to put an order out.”

According to Kansas statutes, the power for health decisions at the county level resides with the county health board, which is made up of the county commissioners and the county health officer, as well as the health department administrator. Crawford County Commissioners will be meeting Friday to determine what’s next for the county. “Talking with our health officer, I mean we have not seen a new case in Crawford County in nearly a month, the number of infections has remained very low, so at this point, there’s not a lot of justification for putting more restrictive stuff in place.”

Commissioner Jeremy Johnson says that although restrictions are easing he feels most businesses will continue to practice social distancing. “So even though we’re not going to be the ones issuing those orders and restrictions, I expect that people will still see those things in places in businesses that are wanting to be responsible.”

One of those places that will be doing that is Otto’s Cafe in downtown Pittsburg. Otto’s Cafe Manager Bill Goff says “Absolutely we will, until everything gets under control or we feel comfortable with, protection of our customers and our employees is very important to us, without either one of them we’re nothing.”

Bill Goff helps manage the restaurant. He says the normal capacity of the restaurant is 135 and right now they can only handle 40 at a time. “My son, the owner of this place feels that’s good enough for us right now, once everything calms down a little bit yea, we want to get, we want more people in, but right now, we’re not willing to take that risk.”

Goff says they’ll be monitoring local trends and information to determine when they’ll go back to full capacity, but he says right now, they’re not planning on it anytime soon.

Labette county officials have released their plan regarding COVID-19, however, other counties in our area have not yet, but are hoping to do so sometime this week.

List of southeast Kansas County plans (Updated 6/01/2020)

Woodson, Bourbon, Allen Counties


Cherokee County lifts local restrictions related to COVID-19

Wilson County

Wilson County announced their plan – click here for the latest.

Crawford County

Crawford County adopts recommendations instead of enforceable restrictions

Labette County

Neosho County

Control for County Decisions relies on Kansas Statues, Chapter 65, Article 119. Click here for the statute.