Governor moves Kansas into Phase 1.5
Phase One of Governor Laura Kelly’s Ad Astra Plan began Monday, May 4, and since then, many Kansans have been anxiously waiting for two weeks to pass, so Kansas could move into Phase Two. On Thursday, May 14, Governor Kelly announced a new “phase” being added to her plan to reopen Kansas’ economy – Phase 1.5.
According to Governor Kelly, COVID-19 metrics indicate progress throughout Kansas, but caution is still needed. Therefore, Phase 1.5 started on Monday, May 18, instead of Phase Two like most Kansans were anticipating.
On Thursday, May 14, Governor Kelly signed Executive Order No. 20-32, which established Phase 1.5. According to Governor Kelly, Phase 1.5 continues reopening efforts while preserving some data-driven restrictions necessary to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.
“The good news is that hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths continue to decline, enabling us to move forward with our efforts to safely reopen Kansas,” Governor Kelly said. “Unfortunately, the daily rate of disease spread has not shown the downward trajectory necessary to move fully into Phase Two. I said from the beginning that public safety must remain the top priority, which means that our reopening efforts must be driven by data, not dates. Phase 1.5 will continue our transition, but with necessary caution.”
During Phase 1.5, the following businesses and activities are allowed to open:
• Personal service businesses such as nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors and other personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided may open, but only for pre-scheduled appointments or online check-in;
• Fitness centers and health clubs may open, but in-person group classes may not occur, and locker rooms must be closed except as necessary to use restroom facilities;
• In-person commencement or graduation ceremonies may occur with no more than 10 individuals in a room, gymnasium or facility at one time as long as 6-foot social distancing is maintained. Outdoor drive-through graduation ceremonies during which no more than 10 individuals are in the same area outside of their vehicles at a time (i.e. school administration, graduate, family members, etc.) are allowed.
During Phase 1.5, the following activities are not allowed:
• Mass gatherings of more than 10 individuals;
• Large entertainment venues with capacity of 2,000 or more;
• Fairs, festivals, carnivals and parades;
• Swimming pools (other than backyard pools);
• Organized sports facilities, tournaments and practices;
• Summer camps.
During Phase 1.5, the following businesses are not allowed to open:
• Bars and night clubs, excluding already operating curbside and carryout services;
• Non-tribal Casinos;
• Theaters, museums and other indoor leisure spaces (trampoline parks, arcades, etc.);
• Community centers.
Throughout Phase 1.5, the Governor will continue evaluating the state’s progress, which includes monitoring the state’s disease spread as well as monitoring testing rates, death rates, ability of state and local public health authorities to contain outbreaks and conduct contact tracing, hospitalizations and personal protective equipment availability. Then, if appropriate, Governor Kelly will issue a new executive order moving the statewide baseline to Phase Two.
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.
Governor Kelly’s “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas,” is available in full at www.covid.ks.gov, in addition to industry-specific guidance for Kansas businesses.