What You Need To Know About The Next Phase Of Reopening In Kansas And Missouri
Kansas and Missouri municipalities continue to ease restrictions on businesses that were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Stay-at-home orders in both states have expired, and businesses have been gradually opening since mid-May. So where do things stand now? Our latest information will be updated as the situation evolves.
In Kansas City, Missouri, starting May 31, businesses can open up to 50% of their capacity, as long as six feet of social distancing is maintained. This order will remain in effect until July 5.
When announcing the order, Mayor Quinton Lucas said businesses should not force employees to come to work if they have compromised immune systems, are caring for someone infected with COVID-19 or have lost childcare due to the pandemic.
He also encouraged people to stay home whenever possible and continue to exercise caution.
Under the new order:
- Six feet of distance must be maintained between "areas of service" such as tables, booths and chairs.
- Restaurants servers, barbers and hair stylists must also continue to wear masks or face coverings.
- Buffet-style food service and self-serve stations will still be prohibited, but the ban on bar seating appears to be lifted, as long as parties are separated by 6 feet.
- Large gatherings such as church services, weddings and performances may occur, as long as they adhere to the 50% capacity limit. Outdoor gatherings will not be limited, as long as social distancing measures are in place.
Lucas said businesses that do not comply could have their business or liquor licenses revoked. The order will be primarily enforced by the health department, the regulated industries division and, if necessary, the police and fire departments.
In parts of Jackson County that are not in Kansas City, Missouri, restrictions will ease beginning June 1. Restaurants, gyms, barber shops and libraries will be allowed to open up to 50% capacity and pools can reopen with restrictions.
In Kansas, Johnson and Wyandotte counties have taken different approaches to re-opening their economies, after Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly lifted her COVID-19 emergency declaration on May 26.
Kelly’s decision ended the state’s phased approach to reopening, which had limited gathering sizes and provided other business restrictions. It turned Kelly's Ad Astra Re-Opening Plan from a statewide requirement to a guidance document, and allowed counties to adopt their own regulations, if any, to mitigate the virus spread.
Here’s how Johnson and Wyandotte counties have addressed the situation at the end of May:
The Johnson County Commission voted narrowly on May 28 to endorse, but not require, the Phase 3 recommendation in the state’s plan.
The vote was 4-3 to support the Phase 3 approach through June 11, although this is just guidance and is not a mandate. Under Phase 3, bars, businesses, entertainment venues and churches in Johnson County can reopen at full capacity if they wish.
Elements of Phase 3 include:
- Limiting mass gatherings to no more than 45 people, although churches are exempt.
- Requiring social distancing of at least six feet between tables in a restaurant.
- Urging companies to continue to allow employees to work from home to the extent possible, and to have workers socially distanced at work.
- Encouraging the use of masks in public.
Theaters, community centers, summer camps and other venues can also open, along with swimming pools. But Overland Park, Prairie Village and Roeland Park have decided not to open their public pools this summer.
Wyandotte County has decided to follow the state’s Phase 2 guidance at least until June 8. The Health Order signed by Unified Government Chief Medical Officer Allen Greiner on May 20 remains in effect at least until then.
“No matter what political battles rage at the state level, our fight has been and will continue to be against the novel Coronavirus,” said Unified Government Mayor David Alvey. “We will restrict, or relax, as much as is necessary to prevent overwhelming our first responders and our health care system.”
Elements of Phase 2 include:
- Mass gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited.
- Businesses can reopen if they can maintain at least six feet distance between customers and follow proper cleaning and public health practices.
- Restaurants can reopen if they can keep individual customers or groups of seated customers separated by at least six feet.
- Bars and nightclubs can open, allowing 15 patrons or fewer, and enforcing six feet of distance.
- Non-tribal casinos can also operate if they comply with guidelines approved by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
- Childcare facilities and community centers can operate.
- Playground equipment at publicly-owned parks re-opened May 23, but visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing and to sanitize hands before and after using the equipment.
- Prohibited activities and venues include outdoor and indoor entertainment venues with a capacity of 2,000 or more people; fairs and festivals; summer camps; and public swimming pools.
This phase remains in effect until at least June 8. Wyandotte County officials say they will monitor COVID-19 numbers to determine when to move to Phase 3.
For more information on reopening guidelines across the metro, check your city or county's website:
Kansas City, Missouri: KCMO Reopens FAQ
Jackson County, Missouri: Eastern Jackson County Recovery Overview — Phase I
Clay County, Missouri: COVID-19 Response, Reopening, and Recovery Plan
Platte County, Missouri: Ongoing Response, Reopening and Recovery
Johnson County, Kansas: Adheres to Gov. Laura Kelly's Reopening Plan
Leavenworth County, Kansas: Leavenworth County Plan for "Re-Opening"
Wyandotte County, Kansas: Restart WyCo: Road to Recovery