Manhattan officials construct plan for reopening city

Local News

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) — Governor Laura Kelly’s current stay at home order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on May 3. As we get closer to that date, cities in northeast Kansas are making plans on how to get back to normal safely.

Riley County has been on a stay at order for more than a month and health and county officials are making plans for the best and safest way to get back to normal. Leaders want to do this in phases while also following the governor’s orders for reopening. On Wednesday, those phase plans were talked about in detail.

“We wanted to make sure we discuss being consistent in all of our messages,” Manhattan Mayor Usha Reddi said. “We can’t assume that all businesses will be up and going. That’s not going to happen. So there’s probably going to be a few businesses that will be able to come onboard themselves. And then give them a 14 day period, then have a few more onboarding.”

The phase one plan will allow slightly larger crowds at gatherings. More than 10 people, but no more than 25 for now. Then phase two, will be slowly opening restaurants and bars with dining areas. However, that will only happen if there are 14 days of a steady decrease in numbers of coronavirus cases.

Phase three will focus on nail shops and hair salons. Then the fourth phase, allowing you to go back to places like movie theaters. The last step in the plan will allow larger crowds for things like concerts and parades.

“I think they are taking the right steps,” Abby Mitchell said on the reopening plan. “I definitely think that rushing into big gatherings is not necessarily a good idea. The small step program that they are going to be putting in place will be what’s best long term.”

The earliest the first phase would start is once the stay at home order is officially lifted.

“Doing these small little steps, and these checkpoints to see if we are really able to see a decrease in the trend,” Bailey Ryals said. “I think that’s a step in the right direction. And I know they’re trying to make everyone as safe as possible.”

Manhattan officials are urging businesses to still take part in keeping things extra clean. They said hand sanitizers and constant cleanings can help keep the numbers down while returning back to normal.

They didn’t say how many will be allowed inside a restaurant at a time because they will go off of the governors rules first. Again, this is a plan they are wanting to follow, but the city will also comply their plans with the governors and health departments reopening plan.

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