Gov. Laura Kelly

Mass gatherings will continue to be limited to no more than 10 people during Gov. Laura Kelly’s Phase 1.5 plan to reopen the state, which launched Monday, May 18.

On Tuesday, May 19, Kelly announced that the state would move into a modified Phase 2 on Friday, May 22, that would limit mass gaterhings to 15 people but would allow some businesses to reopen and some activities to take place.

More details about that plan will be forthcoming. If all goes well, the governor said Phase 3 could begin June 8 and would limit mass gatherings to 45 people.

In the meantime, the state remains under Phase 1.5 until Friday.

The Phase 1.5 of the governor’s “Ad Astra: Plan to Reopen Kansas” will preserve “some restrictions necessary to prevent community transmission of COVID-19,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“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,” Gov. Kelly said. “Phase 1.5 will continue our transition, but with necessary caution.”

Under Phase 1.5:

  • Mass gatherings of more than 10 individuals continue to be prohibited.
  • 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 are allowed.

Under Phase 1.5, the following will remain closed to the public:

  • 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.
  • Outdoor and indoor large entertainment venues with capacity of 2,000 or more.
  • Fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades.
  • Swimming pools (other than backyard pools).
  • Organized sports facilities, sports tournaments, sports games, and sports practices and summer camps.

Gov. Kelly signed Executive Order 20-32 on Thursday, May 14, which establishes Phase 1.5.

“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,” Kelly said in announcing the revised plan. “Unfortunately, the daily rate of disease spread has not shown the downward trajectory necessary to move fully into Phase 2.”

The governor will evaluate the state’s disease spread, testing rates, death rates, hospitalizations, ability of state and local public health authorities to contain outbreaks and conduct contact tracing, and personal protective equipment availability when determining if the state should move to the next phase, according to the release.

“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,” according to the announcement from the governor’s office.

Throughout all phases, the governor said Kansans should continue to adhere to hygiene and social distancing protocols.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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