Gov. Kelly: Stay in Phase 3 of reopening plan

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Monday was supposed to be the first day of phasing out coronavirus guidelines in the state’s reopening plan, but now Governor Laura Kelly is making a change.

The governor is recommending that communities stay in Phase 3 of the reopening plan. That phase advises against having more than 45 people at gatherings.

“Our only defense against COVID-19 is social distancing, avoiding mass gatherings and wearing a mask in public,” Kelly said.

She said that for the first time in awhile, disease spread is trending upward.

“We must remain vigilant, the virus is still in our communities, and it is still spreading,” Kelly said.

She pointed to May 27, when the state reopening plan changed from restrictions to guidlines as a reason for the change.

Since that date, local control was given to counties. County health officials have been able to decide for themselves what restrictions to put in place.

Counties have seen mixed results on how many new cases they have had. Douglas County has decided to extend Phase 3 for two more weeks.

“We felt like our community was doing a very good job for a long time, thank you. But we’re starting to see more activity, so we can’t be complacent, we can’t get lax about it,” Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health spokesman George Diepenbrock said. “Wear your mask when you’re out in public, especially if you go indoors to a business or a store, or place. Be mindful of your surroundings, try to stay six feet from individuals.”

The county health department announced the extension of Phase 3 before the governor put out her recommendation for the whole state.

“Just wanting to make sure that we are slowing down the peddle a little bit,” Diepenbrock said. “That’s why it is set up in phases so that you can react for what’s appropriate for your community.”

You can view the phases of the state’s reopening plan here.

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