Kelly: COVID-19 metrics indicate progress, but caution still needed

This afternoon, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly added a new phase to her “Ad Astra: Plan to Reopen Kansas.” Instead of moving from Phase 1 to 2, Kelly announced Kansas is moving to Phase “1.5,” effective May 18. 

The new phases continue reopening efforts, while preserving some data-driven restrictions necessary to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.  The really good news is phase 1.5 allows for the opening for a whole list of person care services. 

Allowed to open are:  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.

The governor tried to give a nod to graduates by encouraging outdoor drive-through graduation ceremonies.  At these outdoor ceremonies, no more than 10 individuals can be in the same are outside their vehicles at a time (i.e. school administration, graduate, family members, etc.)   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.

 “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,” said Kelly. “Unfortunately, the daily rate of disease spread has not shown the downward trajectory necessary to move fully into Phase 2. 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. Phase 1.5 will continue our transition, but with necessary caution.”

What’s Not Allowed Still

Mass gatherings of more than 10 individuals continue to be prohibited;

Under Phase 1.5, the following, unless they are repurposed for use in an essential function under the Kansas Essential Function Framework, shall 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.

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