KANSAS — Kansas will no longer impose a statewide phased-in reopening plan, now power rests in the hands of the state’s 105 counties.
The previous proclamations signed by Governor Laura Kelly restricted counties ability to tailor covid-19 response specific to their community.
David Groves, Cherokee County Sheriff, said, “Just because the restrictions aren’t mandated by the state at this point doesn’t mean there not still good practices.”
With the expiration of the disaster declaration, the governor has granted officials in each county the right to set health, business, mass gatherings, and other limits.
“We at this point, are not looking to impose any local restrictions. We will be visiting and we have been visiting with some city officials since last night as well as some business owners, and community members on recommendations.”
Jeremy Johnson, Crawford County Commissioner, said, “Often the state will say, it’s up to local jurisdictions, up to counties, it’s up to cities, which sounds nice but if we don’t have the statutory authority to act on, that’s meaningless.”
Officials in Cherokee and Crawford counties say they’re recommending citizens and businesses continue following safety guidelines even though the county will not impose new official limits.
“We don’t have a lot of clear guidance or ground to stand on and for right now that’s not a major issue because Crawford County hasn’t had a new case in nearly a month.”
“We want them to do what they feel is necessary to stay safe so if they’re a vulnerable population, if they’re elderly or if they have a compromised immune system already, they may want to take additional restrictions. That doesn’t have to be mandated, it can jusst be something they do on their own,” said Groves.
Cherokee County’s Emergency Management Team will meet with Commissioners on Monday to further discuss moving forward.
Johnson says Crawford County will meet on Friday and discuss how to place limitations should they be needed in the future.