State provides new guidelines beginning May 4

After more than a month under a state issued stay-at-home order, Governor Laura Kelly has decided to let the order expire, allowing Kansans to begin to return to their daily activities. To prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases, Kelly announced that the state would make efforts to restore its economy in four phases. The phases, which will begin on May 4 and last until at least June 15, are directed by executive order 20-29 (also called Ad Astra) and apply to all Kansans.

Phase One states that groups of more than 10 are not allowed to form. However, libraries and child care centers will be allowed to reopen. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) urges Kansans to wear face masks, limit travel and to continue to practice social distancing. Employees are also encouraged to continue working from home.

Phase Two, which will begin no later than May 18, permits groups to form if they have no more than 30 individuals. Swimming pools, community centers and organized sports facilities will be allowed to resume as long as they follow the state issued requirements. Some businesses and activity centers will be allowed to reopen as long as they keep their occupancy below half of what is recommended by the building/fire code. Travel will also still be limited, and workers are encouraged to work from home if possible.

Phase Three will allow all employees to return to work, and will also permit nonessential travel and gatherings of no more than 90 individuals. All activities, establishments and so on are also allowed to open as long as they follow the mass gathering guidelines. Personal hygiene will be encouraged in the place of masks and social distancing practices. This phase will begin no later than June 1.

Finally, in Phase Four (also called Phase Out), all travel and gathering guidelines will become unrestricted. The state health department will decide whether or not it will be safe to enter this phase. Governor Kelly will also release new guidelines “to explain what health metrics will trigger an elimination of all statewide restrictions,” according to covid.ks.gov.

While none of the phases are currently “etched in stone,” as Kelly said to KSHB News, the state government hopes that by slowly returning to normal activities rather than dropping all restrictions, COVID-19 cases will continue to decrease. Currently, the state is unsure if schools will reopen in August or if elections will be held in November.