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Commissioners mull how to reopen county

Governor’s stay-at-home order set
to expire May 3

Staff writer

With Kansas’ “stay at home” order set to expire May 3, county commissioners are turning their attention to how to relax county health department regulations put in place to combat COVID-19.

County health nurse Diedre Serene told commissioners she doesn’t expect a new stay-home order to be issued unless something happens during the next week.

However, Marion County might look very different from other counties in the state.

Each phase of reopening the state will be evaluated every couple of weeks and decisions will be made accordingly, she said.

Serene said she wants commissioners to begin thinking about what actions should be taken in reopening.

“I am preparing actions to put in place if the governor’s actions don’t appear to protect Marion County,” Serene said.

Serene said if the governor’s new guidelines permit gatherings of 250 or more, she will probably issue a county limit of fewer people.

“In Marion County, that’s a huge gathering,” she said.

Serene recommends children older than 2 wear masks when out in public. KDHE has guidance on its website for masks.

“As things start opening, we need to take on the responsibility of social distancing and hygiene,” Serene said.

She also encourages businesses to take precautions.

“If you are an employer and your employees feel sick, do not make them feel they have to come to work,” she said.

Commissioner Kent Becker said many business owners need to find out whether they still have a business left.

“I think as an individual county, it’s up to us to move forward,” Becker said.

Serene said she does see people wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he was in Newton last weekend and saw people cruising Main St. but they were wearing masks and keeping their distance.

Serene said while she encourages people to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and washing their hands, businesses need to make sure they have procedures in place to make their customers feel safe coming in.

“I think there’s got to be a lot of common sense going forward,” commissioner David Crofoot said.

County emergency manager Randy Frank said he anticipates a briefing from the governor by the end of the week.

“That would give the local governments time to make decisions,” Frank said.

Last modified April 29, 2020

 

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