Self-policing, utility cut offs, school lunches and exercise discussed.
Leaders from Kansas City area governments and health organizations gathered, with social distancing in mind, for a press conference and updates following Saturday’s surprise announcement of the metro area-wide stay-in-place order effective Tues. March 24 at 12:01 am.
The broad reaching policies call for closing down of all but essential services and for people to stay at home other than to handle essential matters. The details of the orders can be found here.
Here are some of the details covered the conference.
It doesn’t appear the police will be stopping people to see if they’re on “essential” business, but you might expect the police to step in and break up groups of people larger than the 10 allowed to gather at one time.
Passes will not be required to leave your home.
“Our police are very busy and I don’t want them in the position of asking people where they’re going,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “We’re just asking you to comply.”
The stay-at-home policies carry the same power as a city ordinance and violating them could require payment of a fine. For businesses, violation of the policies might mean suspension of business activities.
If people notice serious violations of the policies, they suggested calling 3-1-1 to report them.
Stay active, even outdoors
Representatives from the Health Departments encouraged people to stay active. Being healthy and active helps fend off diseases of all kinds. They encouraged people to go out for a walk and exercise. However, they don’t encourage activities like basketball where everyone is touching the ball and in close contact. Healthy activities must take into consideration social distancing.
Kansas City International airport remains open, trains are still running and so are buses. There are no plans to discontinue public transportation. It’s important to keep bus services open and running for people who don’t have other means of transportation, said Lucas.
KCATA has increased their cleaning schedule for buses. To maintain social distancing, KCATA has blocked off some seats on every buses.
At present, if someone lands at Kansas City International Airport they don’t have to go through any additional screening. lf the City thinks that becomes necessary, they may take extra steps, Lucas said.
Traveling From Impacted Areas Many people coming back from spring break have been in heavily impacted areas, such as the beaches in Florida, New York, California, Washington state and, some of the ski areas in Colorado. Those who have been to those areas are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Officials made a point of telling people to self-quarantine, even if they don’t have symptoms. You still may be carrying the virus
Public School Meals
The stay-in-place policy does nothing to disrupt the free lunch programs most of the area school districts have planned.
Utility Cutoffs So far, on the Missouri side, only Evergy, the electric company, has announced they will no longer turn of power in response to the pandemic. So far, other utilities have not stepped up, said Jackson County Manager Frank White.
Last week, KC Tenants, a non-profit group organized around affordable and safe housing, called for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to issue and order banning utilities from turning off utilities until the pandemic is over. That’s something Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has already done.
KCMO Earnings Tax
A decision hasn’t been made but KCMO personal taxes are due April 15. Mayor Lucas says the city is looking into an extensions in paying the taxes until July 15. It’s still just a possibility, so stay tuned for further information on this one.
Things remain very fluid and the team didn’t have all of the answers. For example a Minister was in attendance representing a group of churches didn’t understand why churches were considered essential services before but according to the new order, they’re no longer identified as essential.
They noted they’ll have more information to share as time goes by.
In the meantime, they encouraged all communities to stay strong, stay safe, and please stay home.