Executive order halts many gatherings
An executive order issued Tuesday by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly prohibited public or private gatherings likely to bring together 50 or more people in enclosed spaces, including events held at auditoriums, theaters, museums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, meeting halls, exhibition centers, taverns, health and fitness centers, recreational centers and swimming pools.
The order specifically exempts Kansas legislative meetings; operations of the federal government; religious gatherings as long as attendees can engage in appropriate social distancing; funeral or memorial services; airports; schools for non-instructional purposes such as medication pickup, child care or meal services; child care facilities and group homes; and hotels and motels as long as social distancing of six feet can be maintained.
Although churches are exempted from the governor’s order, physician Don Hodson said the Marion County Health Department will be encouraging all churches to postpone services regardless of whether social distancing can be maintained.
The governor’s order also exempts military and National Guard facilities; law enforcement; jails and correctional facilities; a facility being used as part of a government or community response to a natural disaster; food pantries; shelter facilities; detoxification centers; multi-family residences; retail establishments where large numbers of people are present but not within arm’s reach of each other; hospitals, medical facilities, and pharmacies. Long-term care and assisted living facilities — which are subject to Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control recommendations, are also exempt. So are libraries; senior centers, but only for meal services and are not permitted to offer self-service food; retail food establishments as long as social distancing is maintained and self-service food is not offered; office spaces and government service centers; manufacturing, processing, distribution, and production facilities; public transportation; utility facilities; job centers; and facilities operated by the Legislature and court system.
Marion County health authorities are working closely with community entities to help protect public safety and wellness.