With so many businesses allowed to remain open as exceptions, Sedgwick County Commissioner Pete Meitzner says, “you can live a close to normal life,” even though the County Health Department issued a 30-day Stay-at-Home Order to go into effect on Wed., March 25, at 12:01 a.m.

In fact, the extensive list of exclusions in the order is probably one of the concerns most often expressed by many of those who watched the press conference live on You Tube.  With so many exceptions, they wondered, how can the order work.

Here are a few of the businesses allowed to stay open.

Okay, so grocery stores and pharmacies make sense, and well if you’re stuck at home with the kids and your spouse, then you might agree liquor stores are essential.

Also open are pet stores?  Fido needs to eat too.

Then we need gas, a bank, and the post office.  They’re all open.

Also open are plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and moving services.  Maybe that all makes sense, but why lawn care, painting, and construction?  SMH!  We’re just not sure why painting your house can’t wait a bit but lawn care made me cock my head to the side with a really perplexed look on my face.  But they’re all considered essential under the order as “services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses.

Also on the Essential Businesses list:

Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home, i.e., Office Max and copy centers

Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate.  Seems like an example of the dog chasing his tail; we’re going around in circles here.  This list is just way big, especially considering the wide array of businesses that are included as Essential.

Taxis, aircraft, and commercial transportation.  That’s great, we’re glad they’re keeping the buses running.

Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children and childcare facilities.  Gov. Kelly has issued operating rules that make these services more coronavirus friendly.

Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, real estate services, and insurance services. Tell me who’s buying a house in the midst of this pandemic?  Legal services, yes those are needed.  I saw two ladies almost come to blows over a package of toilet paper, crazier stuff is certainly bound to happen.   

Rule of 10

Gov. Laura Kelly’s order that no more than 10 people can convene at one time anywhere in the state is in effect now and because of it, somehow barber and beauty salons are no longer not supposed to be open.  I’m not sure if we missed something there, but this part is right — your hair is about to get ugly because barbershops and beauty salons are definitely on the CLOSED list. 

Kansas City

Commissioner Meitzner was frank to say Sedgwick County “lifted” the wording for the stay-at-home order from Johnson County, so we decided to check in on people in Kansas City to see how things are going in the metro area, 16 hours into their stay-in-place order.

One friend called the experience “surreal,” noting the calmness of the typically bustling city.  They’re experiencing empty shelves in grocery stores, and the traffic is definitely lighter on the roads.  However, all of them agree, people had begun to adhere to the changes ahead of the order.  Closing down high traffic places — bars, restaurants, movie theaters and shopping malls – definitely helped. However, they felt two other factors driving adherence to the stay-at-home order were: so many laid-off workers staying at home to conserve the few dollars they have left and the 24-hour news cycle of doom.

Self-Policing

Like Kansas City Metro, you don’t need to be concerned about being stopped by the police.  Neither Wichita Chief Gordon Ramsay nor Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said they planned to have their officers stopping people to see where they’re going.  

According to District Attorney Marc Bennett, if a quarantine had been order, violation of the rules would be a class c misdemeanor.  However, we’re not in a quarantine.

“This is largely a request to folks to be as compliant as possible” said Bennett.  “That’s how law enforcement is going to handle it right now.  Just use your common sense.” 

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