Gov. Kelly describes how to open state after crisis

Joplin Area Coronavirus

Courtesy of KSNW

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – State leaders are planning what it will look like to open back up the Kansas economy when the coronavirus outbreak slows down.

On Thursday, the White House put out guidelines on how to reopen the country. It was debated this week who will decide when states will reopen, if that is up to the president or each state’s governor.

“I do believe that the governors will be making the decisions about how they go forward in their state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I do appreciate the guidelines that were given to us.”

The federal government put out a three-phase plan on Thursday. The plan is an effort to prevent the risk of a resurgence of the virus and to protect the most vulnerable people while opening up the economy.

“It gives you sort of a road map,” Kelly said of the recommendations.

“It gives us a framework in which to really develop our path forward.”


President Donald Trump said it’s up to each state to implement what’s best for itself.

“If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that, and if they believe it is time to reopen, we will provide them the freedom and guidance to accomplish that task, and very, very quickly,” Trump said.

Currently the statewide stay at home order in Kansas runs until May 3. That could be extended depending when the virus’ peak is and how rapidly cases drop after it.

The governor said she is listening to what federal recommendations are and will also learn from what other states do.

“I’m working with state public health officials, our emergency management team and an assortment of other experts to explore how we could tailor this guidance to Kansas, so we can get our people back to work as quickly and as safely as possible,” Kelly said.

Kelly said whenever the statewide order is lifted, parts of the state could likely still see restrictions in place based on what their local governments decide.

Kelly and Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman both said more tests and personal protective equipment to run contact tracing and population studies are important in deciding when it is safe to reopen the state.

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