MANHATTAN, Kan (KSNT) – It’s the question many of us ask ourselves daily, when will life return to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? Bars open past midnight, restaurants without limited capacity, all of those things have come back to mind with the rollout of a vaccine.
“Currently with our percent positive trending down it’s…and it has been trending down for the last four weeks, that is one of the criteria we look at is percent positive in the region,” said Julie Gibbs, the Riley County Health Department Director. “We also look at the situation at the hospital making sure that our hospital is not being overwhelmed and right now that situation is a good situation.”
Currently, Riley County is under Local Health Order 19. That order restricts gatherings to 50 people without a permit, reduces indoor restaurant capacity and requires bars to shut down by 12:30 a.m., among other restrictions.
Riley County residents shouldn’t expect all of those things to completely go away. However, Gibbs says RCHD is evaluating the order and looking to replace certain restrictions.
“We currently have closing time at midnight. We could potentially look at closing times to be extended back to 2 a.m.,” Gibbs said. “Another thing we could look at is mass gathering size.”
For some, the vaccine brings new hope to return to normal as we approach one year of living in a global pandemic.
“I’m ready to, you know, start opening things up, going out more,” K-State student Emily Orville said. “It’s exciting with the vaccine and I’m just excited to go back to normal life here in Manhattan.”
RCHD will be evaluating the Local Health Order on March 1. Until then, the order will remain as is. The City of Manhattan has a separate mask ordinance that is set to expire if no action is taken on April 1, 2021.