June 23, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Gov. Kelly allows restaurants to remain open during coronavirus scare

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Update 8:35 am.  Johnson County says its 15-day closure of restaurants and bars will remain in place.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order NO. 20-04 today to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, temporarily prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 or more people in confined spaces.  The prohibition includes but is not limited to mass gatherings at “…auditoriums, theaters, movie theaters, museums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, meeting halls, exhibition centers, taverns, health and fitness centers, recreation centers, and licensed pools.”

The order also lists 27 specific exemptions including restaurants and bars, provided they preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar stools, and ordering counters, and that they cease self-service of unpackaged food like salad bars or buffets.

That stands in sharp contrast with actions taken by Johnson and Wyandotte counties, which ordered all restaurants and bars closed last night at midnight except for carryout or delivery.  Johnson County says its order will remain in place even though Gov. Kelly’s order is less restrictive.  Wyandotte County officials have not responded to our request for comment.

Other exemptions to Kelly’s order include:

  • religious gatherings, provided attendees can engage in social distancing
  • funeral or memorial services
  • airports
  • childcare locations, residential care centers, and group homes
  • Hotels and motels, as long as restaurant and bar guidelines are followed
  • military and National Guard facilities
  • Law enforcement, jail, or correctional facilities
  • facilities used in response to a natural disaster
  • food pantries and shelter facilities
  • detoxification centers
  • apartment of other multi-family residential buildings
  • shopping malls and other retail establishments where large numbers of people are present but are generally not within arm’s length of one another for more than 10 minutes
  • hospitals, medical facilities, and pharmacies
  • Long-term care and assisted living facilities
  • libraries
  • senior centers, but only for service of meals and with social distancing and unpackaged food restrictions as for bars and restaurants
  • retail food establishments (grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets), subject the bar and restaurant social distancing and unpackaged food restrictions
  • office spaces and government service centers
  • manufacturing, processing, distribution, and production facilities
  • public transportation
  • utility facilities
  • job centers
  • facilities operated by the Kansas legislature and court system

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