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Kansas: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

KANSAS

February 25, 2021:

(Wyandotte and Johnson Counties): On February 23, 2021, Wyandotte and Johnson counties announced they will join the rest of the Kansas City metro and lift curfews on bars and restaurants. In a joint announcement, health officials said the two counties will allow bars and restaurants to resume normal hours, but other restrictions remain in place. Both Johnson and Wyandotte counties require businesses to separate tables by six feet, plus limit parties to no more than eight people. Johnson County limits parties to no more than 10 at a table.

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to remove a midnight curfew on businesses that serve alcohol, effective immediately. The rest of the county’s health order, including a gathering limit for some venues, stays in place until the end of March.

Wyandotte County is also lifting curfew, effective February 24. Wyandotte County previously required bars and restaurants to stop serving alcohol at midnight and to close at 12:30 a.m. Those businesses are still restricted to 50% capacity, unlike in Johnson County.

February 24, 2021:

On February 24, 2021, Governor Laura Kelly issued an executive order allowing temporary authorization for additional vaccinators during the state of disaster emergency. Executive Order #21-06 allows state healthcare professionals, such as pharmacy students, dentists, paramedics, and others who may administer injections or inoculations within their scope of practice, to administer a coronavirus vaccine that is approved or authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

February 23, 2021:

On February 23, 2021, Governor Kelly announced that funding provided to the Kansas hospitality industry through the Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency (HIRE) Fund has been converted from bridge loans to grants. The HIRE Fund was established as a working capital loan program through NetWork Kansas in March of 2020 to provide immediate relief to Kansas hospitality businesses faced with revenue losses due to COVID-19. In total, $5 million was delivered to 344 businesses in communities statewide.

Under the change, these funds will no longer need to be paid back, and businesses that have already made repayments will be reimbursed. All HIRE recipients will receive an email with details on the process and timeframes involved with this conversion. The Department of Commerce will notify the partners/organizations that are assisting with collections to stop collections and forward all funds to NetWork Kansas for reconciliation. Businesses can expect the process of issuing repayment and other paperwork to be completed in the next 30 days.

February 22, 2021:

On February 18, 2021, Governor Kelly announced new steps to address data reporting issues that have inaccurately identified the number of individuals vaccinated for COVID-19 in Kansas.

Reported vaccine administration rates in Kansas have been lower than expected, despite the qualitative reports of health care providers suggesting otherwise. The gap in reporting is due to inconsistencies and time lags between the state’s immunization registry (KS WebIZ) and the federal registry (CDC Vaccine Finder). Beginning next week, the Kelly administration, in partnership with enrolled health care providers, is implementing three processes to address the vaccine administration “gap”:

  • Introducing a new daily reporting snapshot for vaccine providers who have received or administered doses to report daily top-line data (doses received, administered, in inventory, and transferred) to:
    • Provide a much-needed accurate daily picture of progress getting vaccines to Kansans;
    • Help surface reporting issues in KSWebIZ so they can be addressed; and
    • Allow for a targeted resolution of reporting or administration issues impacting the state overall.
  • Improving existing reporting by requiring providers with known reporting issues to submit a templated excel file of patient-level administration data to to KSWebIZ and KDHE in order to:
    • Ensure more complete data is reported in Kansas;
    • Reduce errors and account for doses that have been delivered but have not yet been reported as administered or in inventory; and
    • Directly correct reported CDC numbers to reflect reality.
  • Addressing underlying technical issues with the underlying system and data transfer issues between provider systems, WebIZ and the CDC.

All three actions aim to address the gap in administration data between what is seen in state and local sources and the actual progress providers are making vaccinating Kansans. In tandem, the Kelly administration is working with the KSWebIZ vendor to identify and resolve the long-term data issues.

On November 2020, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued interim clinical guidelines for mRNA vaccines (the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines). The CDC mRNA Immunization Guidelines recommend modifying the timing of blood draws or skin tests when the COVID-19 vaccine has been or will be administered. In response, on February 19, 2021, Governor Laura Kelly announced she signed Executive Order #21-04, temporarily suspending certain regulations regarding tuberculosis testing. COVID-19 vaccines may interfere with the accuracy of tuberculosis testing. As many residents in childcare and long-term care facilities are being vaccinated, it is critical to the state’s response that certain tuberculosis testing is deferred to encourage those staff and residents to get the vaccine. Several Kansas regulations require tuberculosis testing within a specific time frame when a new resident or staff person begins residing or working in certain facilities. This Order suspends those regulations and implements the CDC’s guidance.

February 18, 2021:

(Wyandotte County): On February 17, 2021, the Unified Government Public Health Department (UGPHD) announced that people who live in Wyandotte County and are over 65 years old are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. The UGPHD is now scheduling vaccinations for those at highest risk, and highest priority will be given to seniors who live in zip codes 66101, 66102, and 66105. Zip code prioritization is based on the county’s COVID-19 Vulnerability Index, developed in partnership with Dr. Jason Glenn, Associate Professor with the Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. According to the UGPHD, the Index is meant to make vaccine distribution more equitable and prioritize vaccines for residents at higher risk of exposure and serious illness or death from COVID-19.

Seniors in Wyandotte County who want to be vaccinated must fill out the UGPHD’s Vaccine Interest Form, accessible online at ughealth.info/vaccine or by clicking on COVID-19 vaccines link at wycokck.org/COVID-19. The form is available in both English and Spanish. Those without an internet connection can call 311 for assistance in filling out the form. Once people have filled out the form, they will receive updates when they are eligible for a vaccine and information on how to make an appointment.

The UGPHD also announced a new mass vaccination facility is now open in Western Wyandotte County near the Legends, in addition to the central location at 78th and State Avenue. Both mass vaccination sites offer vaccines by appointment only.

  • West Vaccine Site Location
    • 10500 Parallel Parkway (former Best Buy facility)
    • Kansas City, KS 66109
  • Central Vaccine Site Location
    • 7836 State Ave (former Kmart facility)
    • Kansas City, KS 66112

Pending a final Memorandum of Agreement, an East location is tentatively set to open in March, and more information on that location will be coming soon.

February 17, 2021:

On February 16, 2021, Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation announced $200 million in statewide rental assistance. The initiative, funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, provides the state of Kansas with $200 million to support housing stability and prevent evictions and homelessness.

Kansans struggling to cover rent and utility payments due to COVID-19 may qualify for up to 12 months of emergency assistance thanks to new federal relief. The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) and the City of Wichita will administer the funds. Tenants may qualify for assistance if they earn no more than 80 percent of their area’s median income, are experiencing documented financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may be at risk of housing instability or homelessness without assistance.

Wichita residents may apply through the Wichita Emergency Rental Assistance Program (WERAP) administered by the city’s Housing and Community Services division. The city’s online application will open on Monday, February 22, 2021. Kansans living outside the Wichita city limits may apply through the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program administered by KHRC. The online KERA application will open on Monday, March 15, 2021.

February 11, 2021:

(Johnson County): On February 10, 2021, Governor Laura Kelly announced that pharmacies at eight select Hen House, Price Chopper, and Walmart locations in Johnson County will begin offering a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming days through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program:

  • Price Chopper, 4950 Roe Blvd., Roeland Park
  • Price Chopper, 12010 W. 63rd St., Shawnee
  • Price Chopper, 15970 S. Mur-Len Road, Olathe
  • Price Chopper, 2101 E. Santa Fe St., Olathe
  • Price Chopper, 7000 W. 75th St., Overland Park
  • Hen House, 13600 S. Blackbob Road, Olathe
  • Hen House, 6900 W. 135th St., Overland Park
  • Walmart, 13600 S. Alden St., Olathe

In addition, two pharmacies in nearby Wyandotte County will also be receiving some vaccines:

  • Hen House, 8120 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Price Chopper, 7600 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

Vaccine supply through this channel will be extremely limited and aimed at residents 65 and older who are eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 2 of the state’s vaccine rollout plan. It is unclear when exactly doses might become available at these retail pharmacy locations. The CDC says residents who are eligible to be vaccinated should check pharmacy websites for more information.

Roughly 8,700 doses in total are set to be shipped to Kansas for use in more than 30 counties as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. For context, Johnson County estimates some 150,000 county residents are eligible in Phase 2 (more than 30,000 of which have already been vaccinated). Currently in Johnson County, all individuals 65 years and older are eligible to be vaccinated, along with some “high contact critical workers” like teachers, first responders and grocery store employees.

February 9, 2021:

On February 9, 2021, Governor Laura Kelly announced that her administration, in conjunction with Democratic leaders in the Kansas Legislature, has crafted a proposed tax bill that would generate $97 million in additional revenue for Kansas, support small businesses, and give 94% of Kansans a tax cut. The plan is proposed as an alternative to Senate Bill 22.

All remote sellers, whether selling through a marketplace platform (like Amazon or Etsy) or on their own, have been instructed to register and collect tax on property that is shipped into Kansas. Under current tax code, out-of-state retailers can dodge the use tax on sales to Kansas customers. With the proposed plan, however, the marketplace facilitator would be responsible for collecting and remitting the tax on behalf of the remote sellers on their platform. This would allow the state to collect from fewer entities and increase compliance. Kansas is one of three states that has not enacted a marketplace facilitator provision. The new plan also imposes taxes on digital products, like video streaming services. Together, these marketplace facilitator and digital goods provisions would generate approximately $97 million in additional revenue for the state. That revenue would then be used to increase Kansas’s standard tax deduction by 20% in tax year 2021 and 35% in tax year 2022. If the revenue neutral proposal were implemented, 94% of Kansans will see a tax cut.

February 8, 2021:

On February 5, Governor Laura Kelly announced Kansans can begin submitting applications to the 2021 Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for forgivable loans to small businesses.

Led by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury Department, the PPP is a federally administered program providing loans to small businesses to cover payroll expenses. The SBA began accepting applications through Community Financial Institutions on January 11 and through all other financial institutions on January 19, with applications accepted through March 31. During the 2020 distribution of PPP money, 54,000 small businesses in Kansas received a total of $5 billion in funding.

The 2021 PPP aims to make the program more attractive for small businesses and target the hardest-hit industries through the following changes:

  • Forgiveness has been simplified for borrowers of $150 thousand or less by allowing a self-certification option to attest funds are spent appropriately.
  • Hospitality businesses, including hotels and restaurants, are eligible for an increased loan total of 3.5 times monthly payroll.
  • Eligible expenses paid for with forgiven PPP loans may now be deducted on 2020 and 2021 taxes and employers are now eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit even after taking PPP funds (reversing earlier guidance from the IRS).
  • Employers no longer have to deduct Economic Injury Disaster Loans from their PPP loan total (EIDL program was refunded with an additional $40B too).
  • Additional categories are now eligible as non-payroll expenses (up to 40 percent of the total loan amount), with operational expenses (including software, cloud services, accounting services, etc.), supplier costs, damage from social unrest, and worker protection expenses included.
  • Additional groups are eligible for loans, including 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, and direct marketing organizations.

Under the new program, $234 billion is available, with $12 billion earmarked for businesses in low-income and minority communities, as well as $15 billion in grants dedicated to live entertainment venues. Through Community Financial Institutions, the SBA hopes to encourage greater access to PPP funds. Businesses that have not previously received PPP funds are eligible for loans of up to $10 million if they have 500 or fewer employees. Businesses that received PPP funds during the first round are eligible for up to $2 million in funding if they have 300 or fewer employees.

February 4, 2021:

On February 3, 2021, Governor Laura Kelly announced the launch of the “Find My Vaccine” mapping tool designed to help Kansans locate vaccine administration sites in their communities. The tool allows any Kansan, regardless of where they live, to find the closest vaccine provider, and Kansans in vaccine phases 1 and 2 are encouraged to use this tool as a resource for finding providers who are or will be offering the vaccine. Specifically, the tool allows residents to:

  • Look up nearby COVID-19 vaccine locations;
  • Identify which locations have recently received vaccine doses; and
  • Access contact information for each location to confirm eligibility and availability.

As federal supply increases, the tool will evolve to support the COVID-19 vaccination effort by listing more providers and linking to details and scheduling opportunities as they become available. Kansas officials are asking all enrolled providers who intend to vaccinate the general public to provide their information for inclusion in the tool.

February 2, 2021:

(Johnson County): On February 1, the Johnson County Health Department announced that first responders, some teachers, and Johnson County residents age 65 and older will begin getting the call to schedule appointments for vaccines this week. The Health Department is working with a number of organizations and hospitals in an effort to quickly vaccinate thousands of people.

Anyone who qualifies under Phase 1 or 2 and filled out a survey expressing interest in a vaccine will be contacted by either the Health Department or a metro hospital. Those 80 and older who have successfully completed the county’s interest form and have not been vaccinated will receive a follow-up email or phone call from the county on how to book an appointment.

Hospitals and the Health Department are splitting up this week’s vaccination process as follows:

  • The Health Department is vaccinating first responders (fire, police, and Sheriff’s Office), healthcare workers due for the second dose, and a portion of those 80 and older who have already taken the interest survey.
  • For the 65 and older population, the KU Health System, Olathe Health, or AdventHealth will contact individuals to book appointments based upon vaccine availability.
  • Children’s Mercy is vaccinating K-12 public school special education staff and Kansas School for the Deaf staff. Eligible staff should receive information directly from their school or district administration.

The Health Department is working on plans to begin vaccinating more people who are 65 and older as early as next week but is waiting to make sure it receives adequate vaccine doses before confirming those plans.

January 27, 2021:

On January 27, Governor Kelly announced she has signed Executive Orders #21-01 and #21-02 as part of her administration’s commitment to protect Kansans and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitate effective virus recovery efforts.

E.O. #21-01 allows Kansas employers to continue to withhold income taxes based on the state of the employee’s primary work location, and not based on the state in which the employee is temporarily teleworking as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic were set to expire on January 26 in conjunction the expiration of the state of disaster emergency. Because the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 14 to extend the state of disaster emergency until March 31, 2021, certain previous executive orders must also be extended. Under E.O. #21-02, the following executive orders already in place will be extended until rescinded or until the statewide state of disaster emergency expires, whichever is earlier:

  • 20-37 – Allowing certain deferred tax deadlines and payments during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-39 – Extending professional and occupational licenses during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-40 – Temporarily allowing notaries and witnesses to act via audio-video communication technology during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-43 – Temporary relief from certain restrictions concerning shared work programs during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-56 – Amended Licensure, Certification, and Registration for persons and Licensure of “Adult Care Homes” during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-61 – Temporarily prohibiting certain foreclosures and evictions
  • 20-66 – Amended provisions related to drivers’ license and vehicle registration and regulation during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-70 – Provisions related to drivers’ license and identification cards during the state of disaster emergency

The actions taken on January 27 also affect rules regarding unemployment benefits for Kansans. Executive Order 20-50, which had been in place since June 30, 2020, had suspended the requirement to continue searching for work in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits. That order expired yesterday and will not be extended. Executive Order 20-71, issued previously, waives the requirement that new unemployment claimants wait a week before receiving benefits and will continue in effect because the Legislature did not include a waiting week waiver in the pandemic legislation passed last week.

January 26, 2021:

On January 25, Governor Laura Kelly announced that county allocation data is now available on Kansas’ COVID-19 vaccine dashboard. A collaboration with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the COVID-19 dashboard will be updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday by 12:30 p.m.

As of January 25, Kansas has reported:

  • 132,145 people vaccinated,
  • 157,520 total vaccine doses administered,
  • 255,550 vaccine doses distributed.

January 25, 2021:

On January 25, Governor Kelly signed Senate Bill 14 into law, extending the State of Disaster Emergency Declaration to March 31, 2021, and allowing for the continuation of certain resources, support, and regulations critical to Kansas’ COVID-19 response efforts.

Among other resources and support, the disaster declaration allows Kansas to provide community-based COVID-19 testing, provide support to food banks and pantries, and provide hospitals and first responders with Personal Protective Equipment.

Though there are a number of COVID-19 response measures contained in SB 14, the key provision extends the current emergency declaration to March 31, 2021, providing a measure of stability and certainty for the state’s ongoing emergency response efforts.

The bill also contains the provisions of a number of executive orders that the Governor has issued during the pandemic, such as allowing establishments to continue the sale of alcoholic beverages for carryout consumption, expanding the ability of physicians to use telemedicine, and providing for temporary suspension of certain healthcare professional licensing and practice requirements.

(Dodge City): On January 21, officials in Dodge City announced they have rescinded their mask ordinance, saying it was effective at lowering the rate of new COVID-19 cases.

January 21, 2021:

Governor Laura Kelly announced the statewide move to Phase 2 of Kansas’ COVID-19 vaccination plan. With this move, all those aged 65+, those in eligible congregate settings, and all high-contact critical workers will now be prioritized for vaccination, in addition to anyone from Phase 1 who has not yet been vaccinated.

Approximately 1 million Kansans are in Phase 2 but the next weekly supply of vaccine from the federal government contains approximately 45,000 new first doses so not everyone in Phase 2 will be able to receive their vaccine immediately. Each county, through local health departments, will decide how their limited supply of the doses will be allocated by population groups.

Critically, to drive transparency, a vaccine dashboard is available that includes key metrics that will be updated three times a week. In addition to the dashboard, in the coming weeks, the State of Kansas will launch a “Find my Vaccine” mapping tool, so Kansans can locate sites that are offering vaccine administration in their communities.

Governor Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) ask for your patience while federal supply remains low and for those in prioritized populations to contact their local health departments to learn more about when they will begin to inoculate Phase 2 populations and how they will prioritize within that group or anyone remaining in Phase 1 who has not received the vaccine.

To assist vaccine distribution efforts, Governor Kelly also announced the appointment of Marci Nielsen, PhD, MPH to Chief Advisor for COVID-19 Coordination and Seth Konkel to the role of Special Advisor for COVID-19 Vaccination.

Phase 2 Guidelines:

  • Persons aged 65 and older
  • High-contact critical workers necessary to maintain systems, assets, and activities that are vital to the state security, the economy or public health, or who interact with large numbers of contacts and job-related COVID-19 exposure. COVID-19 risk is associated with the likelihood of infecting oneself or spreading the virus. Factors that increase risk include proximity, type of contact, duration of contacts and challenges to implement protective measures. This includes:
    • Firefighters, police officers, first responders, and correction officers
    • Grocery store workers and food services
    • K-12 and childcare workers, including teachers, custodians, drivers, & other staff
    • Food processing, including meat processing plants
    • Large-scale aviation manufacturing plants
    • Transportation workers
    • Workers in retail, agriculture, supply of critical services or materials for COVID-19 response, the U.S. Postal Service, and Department of motor vehicles
  • Those living or working in licensed congregate settings and other special care or congregate environments where social distancing is not possible, including:
    • Homeless shelters
    • Congregate childcare institutions
    • Emergency shelters or safe houses
    • Corrections facilities
    • Behavioral health institutions

As of January 20, Kansas has:

  • Vaccinated 111,905 people,
  • Administered 129,349 total vaccine doses,
  • Distributed 202,225 vaccine doses.

January 18, 2021:

(Johnson County): On January 18, Johnson County officials announced Johnson County has launched a survey to notify residents in Phase 2 of the state's vaccination plan when they will be eligible to receive a vaccine.

In Kansas, those in Phase 2 include adults 65 and older, employees and residents in congregate settings, and high-contact critical workers, including first responders, grocery store workers, and K-12 school and child care staff.

Johnson County residents who fall into those categories and want to be notified when the vaccine becomes available to them should complete the survey on the county’s website.

Taking the survey does not create an appointment or reserve a vaccine, the county said. After receiving a notification from the county, residents will be instructed on how to schedule a vaccine. Phase 2 of the vaccination plan is expected to begin by early February.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment said Friday it is nearing completion of vaccinating health care workers in Phase 1 of the state’s plan.

The county does not have a list for the general public to sign up for the vaccine.

For more information on the vaccine rollout in Johnson County, visit the county's COVID-19 resources website.

January 13, 2021:

On January 13, Governor Kelly announced she expects Phase 2 of her vaccination plan to begin by the end of the month. That phase will include people over 65, some essential workers, and those in congregate living. The state reported vaccinating 84,555 residents as of Tuesday. That is just under 3% of the population. The state was ranked last of all states for vaccine distribution earlier this month, which Kelly credited to a “reporting lag.” She also said distribution depends heavily on how many vaccines the state receives from the federal government.

January 12, 2021:

(Wyandotte County): On January 12, Wyandotte County is asking residents interested in getting the vaccine to fill out an interest form to determine their eligibility. From the information provided in the survey, the department will notify residents when the vaccine is available.

The health department will use your contact information to let you know when the vaccine is available and where. Health care workers — including EMS and health department staff — and nursing home residents and staff are getting their shots first, health department officials said.

Vaccines are being doled out at a former Kmart building at 7836 State Ave., where COVID testing for the public is ongoing. More than 1,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine so far have been given to health care workers there, the health department’s director, Juliann Van Liew, said in a statement. “But we know there are still more healthcare workers in our community who haven’t come through our site yet,” she said. “That’s why we are putting the call out to healthcare employers to sign up to get their staff vaccinated.”

Wyandotte County also announced a relaxation in COVID restrictions. Bars and restaurants in Wyandotte County can remain open past midnight starting Wednesday, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, announced Tuesday. Since November, bars and restaurants there have been required to close by 10 p.m. under an emergency order issued to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. But under the new rules, they can serve customers until midnight and remain open until 12:30 a.m. Bars and restaurants will still be limited to 50% of their normal operating capacity, and patrons will still be required to wear masks unless actively eating or drinking.

January 11, 2021:

(Johnson County): On January 9, Johnson County health officials say it will be several weeks before they can broaden the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to include essential workers and people over 65. The county, which is following vaccine distribution guidelines established by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is currently vaccinating health care workers as part of Phase 1, and demand has exceeded supply. More than 25,000 health care workers alone have registered for vaccination, but the Johnson County health department has only received 4,000 doses since December 21, officials said in a statement Friday.

The first phase of vaccines covers health care workers, as well as residents and patients in long-term care facilities and senior housing. Essential workers and people 65 and older were included in Phase 2 of the state’s final vaccine distribution plan released Thursday. It has five stages. Phase 2 is broad, including firefighters, police officers, grocery store workers, K-12 and childcare workers — teachers, custodians and other staff — transportation workers, U.S. Postal Service employees and people who work in retail and agriculture. Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and safe houses, and correctional facilities are also included in Phase 2.

In Phase 3, people age 16 to 64 with serious medical conditions that put them at high risk for COVID will be vaccinated; that includes pregnant women. Other occupations covered include utility workers, IT and communications workers.

Phase 4 includes people 16-64 with other medical conditions, including asthma, liver disease, Type 1 diabetes and obesity. Everyone else over 16, and possibly children if a vaccine for them is available by then, comes last in Phase 5.

The county will tell residents when their turn comes on its website, jocogov.org/covid-19-vaccine, through local media and on the social media of the health department and county government, health officials said. People can sign up for daily email updates at jocogov.org/coronavirus.

January 4, 2021:

On January 4, Governor Kelly signed Executive Order #20-72, which extends temporary relief for motor carriers from certain rules and regulations during a State of Disaster Emergency, allowing them to quickly deliver supplies necessary to assist Kansas in its COVID-19 recovery efforts. Executive Order #20-72 will be in effect until rescinded, until February 28, 2021, or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier. It is an extension of measures put in place by Executive Order #20-65.

The order lifts certain weight restrictions and permitting requirements to allow needed medical supplies, food shipments, and other items to move through Kansas as quickly as possible. These exceptions apply only to motor carriers actively participating in COVID-19 response efforts. 

December 30, 2020:

On December 30, Governor Kelly announced that to help keep Kansans warm this winter, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) will begin accepting applications for its Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) on Monday, January 4. LIEAP provides an annual benefit to help qualifying households pay winter heating bills. Persons with disabilities, older adults and families with children are the primary groups assisted. In 2020, about 34,000 households received an average benefit of $960.

To qualify, applicants must be responsible for direct payment of their heating bills. Income eligibility requirements are set at 130% of the federal poverty level. The level of benefit varies according to household income, number of people living in the home, type of residence, type of heating fuel and utility rates.

Applicants need to have made payments on their heating bill two out of the last three months. Those payments must be equal to or exceed $80 or the total balance due on their energy bills, whichever is less.

Applications for the program have been mailed to households that received energy assistance last year. LIEAP applications are also available at local DCF offices and through partnering agencies starting January 4. They can be requested by calling 1-800-432-0043. To apply online, visit: https://cssp.kees.ks.gov/apspssp/sspNonMed.portal.

For more information, visit: http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/Pages/EnergyAssistance.aspx.

Applications will be accepted from January 4 to March 31.

December 22, 2020:

On December 22, Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order No. 20-70, extending the deadline for renewal of driver’s licenses to June 30, 2021. With this order, Governor Kelly extends a previous provision that allows Kansans 21 to 64 years of age to renew online. In addition to Executive Order 20-70, the Kansas Department of Revenue is removing service fees for all Kansans who use iKan to renew their license. These fees are generated to keep the online renewal system running but will be covered by COVID-19 funding to encourage the use of online renewals. This, in turn, assists in combatting community spread of the disease.

The iKan program can be utilized by downloading the app from Apple App or Google Play stores on mobile devices or by visiting iKan.ks.gov. Even with the temporary removal of some restrictions, by statute, other restrictions apply.

December 17, 2020:

On December 16, Governor Laura Kelly announced when the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to become available for population groups across the state. The framework begins this winter with high-risk Kansans such as health care personnel and long-term care facility staff and residents, eventually reaching the general public in the summer of 2021. An outline of the expected availability is as follows:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the winter, on a very limited basis, for health care personnel, long term care facility staff, long term care residents, and EMS/frontline public health workers;
  • The vaccine will become available in late winter, on a limited basis, for first responders, some public facing workers in essential and critical infrastructure, teachers, school staff, child care workers, and individuals at high risk for adverse health consequences;
  • The vaccine will become available in the spring, at an increased availability, for all other adults;
  • And finally, the vaccine will become generally available in the summer for all Kansans, including children.

Adherence to this expected framework will be dependent on receipt of COVID-19 vaccine doses from the companies distributing them.

December 15, 2020:

On December 14, Governor Laura Kelly announced that the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine began arriving in Kansas this morning. The vaccine has been received in several ultra-cold storage locations across the state, with delivery anticipated to continue through tomorrow. A total of about 24,000 doses is expected. From the ultra-cold storage facilities, the vaccines will be going to secondary sites – hospitals – later this week. These vaccines will be for at-risk healthcare providers as identified by these hospitals.

December 14, 2020:

On December 11, Governor Kelly announced updates to the online dashboard that tracks the investments funded through the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) of the federal CARES Act. The portal has been updated to include all spending through October 31, 2020, and a newly expanded fraud protection online reporting portal. If Kansans suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of CARES Act funds, they can report their allegations via an online portal, which will help direct their concerns to the appropriate place. Previously, Kansans could call or email the Office of Recovery with their claims. The new portal will streamline the process and offer Kansans the opportunity to submit claims anonymously if they fear retribution.

Kansans can report fraud, waste, or abuse by visiting: https://covid.ks.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse/.

On December 9, Governor Kelly announced she has signed Executive Order #20-69, requiring COVID-19 testing in certain adult care homes, to enhance efforts to keep COVID-19 from entering and spreading through nursing homes. The order will require facilities to test residents and staff based on parameters and a frequency set forth by the executive order. The order requires testing of staff and residents in state-licensed facilities that are classified as adult care homes under K.S.A. 39-923(a). The order does not apply to facilities that are regulated by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services because those facilities are already subject to similar testing requirements.

The Executive Order outlines the routine testing requirements for adult care home staff based upon county positivity rates, monitoring and adjusting every other week, reported by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The minimum testing interval based on the county positivity rates are as follows:

  • Low (<5% positive test result rate) or Green – Once a month
  • Medium (5% – 10% positive test result rate) or Yellow – Once a week
  • High (>10% positive test result rate) or Red – Twice a Week

The guidance above represents the minimum testing expected. Facilities may consider other factors, such as the positivity rate in an adjacent county to test at a higher frequency than required.

Facilities can meet the testing requirements by using rapid point-of-care (POC) diagnostic testing devices or through an arrangement with an offsite laboratory. For a facility to conduct these tests with their own staff and equipment (including POC devices provided by the Department of Health and Human Services), the facility must have a CLIA Certificate of Waiver.

The order states that, regardless of the frequency of testing being performed or the facility’s COVID-19 status, the facility should continue to regularly screen all staff, each resident, and all persons entering the facility, such as vendors, volunteers, and visitors, for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Executive Order #20-69 becomes effective on Monday, December 14, 2020, and remains in force until rescinded or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier.

December 7, 2020:

On December 4, Governor Kelly announced Kansas considers meatpacking plant workers and grocery store employees essential workers for Phase two of the vaccination plan, putting them just behind health care workers and nursing home residents for coronavirus vaccines. Governor Kelly also announced the Kansas Legislature will not get any special treatment. Individual lawmakers will get vaccinated at different times, based on the risk outside of their political lives of being exposed to COVID-19 or developing serious complications once infected. Phase three will be vaccinating people 65 and older and younger people at high medical risk.

December 2, 2020:

On December 2, Governor Kelly announced Kansas will receive its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine by mid-December. The governor said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could be authorized for emergency use as soon as December 10 and December 14 respectively. Pfizer will then send a shipment of 24,000 doses followed by 49,000 doses from Moderna. Weekly shipments are expected afterward for an anticipated 150,000 doses by the end of the month, the governor said. Governor Kelly said Kansas will receive 150,000 vaccine doses by the end of December, enough to vaccinate 75,000 people.

The vaccine will be administered in phases. Phase 1 begins with high-risk healthcare workers and nursing home residents. Phase 2 includes other healthcare workers and Kansans over 65 years old. Phase 3 of the vaccine is then for people who are not high risk. Governor Kelly said “We will work to make sure as many Phase 1 people are vaccinated as possible by the end of the month. Phase 2 and 3 will be administered on a rolling basis between winter and late spring.”

The Pfizer vaccine will be delivered to pre-positioned locations across Kansas that are equipped with ultra-cold storage. Other storage will be set up for the Moderna vaccine. The vaccine itself will be free, but providers can charge an administrative fee for giving the shot. No one will be turned away if they cannot afford the fee. Governor Kelly said short-term funding will finance the initial distribution of the vaccine, but CARES funding ends December 30.

November 24, 2020:

On November 23, Governor Kelly announced that she has sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting his approval of an extension to Title 32 authority, allowing Kansas to continue utilizing the Kansas National Guard in its efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, keep Kansans safe, and keep schools and businesses open. Title 32 allows governors to mobilize their state’s national guard in order to respond to natural disasters or other emergencies.

(Miami County): On November 23, the Miami County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 to adopt Governor Kelly’s mask order.

November 23, 2020:

(Douglas County): On November 20, Douglas County public health leaders issued a series of new COVID-19 restrictions. The order went into effect on Friday, November 20, and includes reducing the mass gathering limit from 15 people to 10 people. The order also set an indoor capacity limit of 100 people or 50% of the lowest occupancy load – whichever is lower – in entertainment venues, recreational facilities, and restaurants, bars. The venues and establishments serving food and drink must close their premises no later than 10:00 p.m., including all outside seating areas and patios to customers. Carryout, curbside, drive-through or off-premise delivery of food is allowed after 10:00 p.m., but not alcoholic beverages.

Two of the key changes with the updated order are that venues like gyms and fitness facilities must limit capacity and continue to spread out customers who also must wear masks, and for establishments to space out parties for indoor dining.

November 19, 2020:

(Johnson County): On November 19, Johnson County Commissioners voted 4-3 to pass the noncompliance order, so that the county can impose a $500 fine on business that fail to follow the revised COVID-19 restrictions that were imposed last week. They are removing the word “individuals” from the order to focus on business.

During the board meeting, Johnson County government’s legal counsel explained how enforcement would work:

  • Someone reports a business out of compliance.
  • A code officer would provide education to the business, make them aware of the order.
  • If that was not successful, the code officer would write a notice of violation.
  • The notice of violation provides a deadline to fix the issue.
  • A code enforcement officer would follow up, and if still unresolved, they would issue the citation with a fine.
  • The business fined can pay the fine or argue their case in codes court.

The resolution would be generally only enforceable in unincorporated areas. And, while all cities are included in the order, cities within the county could decide to enforce it or not.

Johnson County DA Steve Howe explained if they receive more than one complaint regarding a business not being in compliance, they would do a site visit by one of their investigators to educate the business owner about the order.

On November 18, Olathe Public Schools said all middle and high school students will return to remote learning Nov. 30. Students will continue in remote learning through the end of the semester, Dec. 18. Elementary students will continue in-person, full-time learning.

(City of Leavenworth): On November 19, the Leavenworth City Commission has approved a mask mandate for the city beginning Saturday, November 21.

November 18, 2020:

On November 18, Governor Kelly announced several new steps her administration is taking to combat the spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The new plan includes a public health campaign, community engagement conversations and an executive order establishing a statewide face-covering protocol as part of her administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to keep Kansans healthy, keep schools and businesses open, and protect Kansas’ economy. The face-covering executive order, E.O. #20-68, takes effect beginning 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 25, and will remain in place until rescinded or until the current statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires – whichever is earlier. The order allows local officials one week to craft and implement their own version of a face covering ordinance that works for them and their communities.

Further, on November 16, Governor Kelly announced that nearly 2,000 Kansas small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will receive a share of $37.5 million in Small Business Working Capital (SBWC) grants. Kansas businesses with fewer than 500 employees were eligible to apply for SBWC grant funding, made available by Governor Kelly’s Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce through the federal CARES Act. Grant funds can be used to pay working capital expenses such as payroll, insurance, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, inventory, and more. The online application process for several other SPARK grant programs remain active. Details are available at http://www.kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief.

November 17, 2020:

(Johnson County): On November 16, Shawnee Mission School District announced secondary students in Middle and High School will move to remote learning on Nov. 30, the district said in a letter to families. In the letter, the district said it's "finding it more difficult to staff our buildings for in-person learning, given the number of staff currently in quarantine or isolation. We have reached the point where we are unable to fully staff all of our buildings, and need to make a change." They will continue to learn remotely through Jan. 22, 2021.

Elementary students will continue in-person learning for now. The district said it will attempt to give parents a minimum 14-day notice if it decides to make any changes for those students.

Eudora students and Tonganoxie high school students will also go remote on Tuesday due to COVID-19.

November 16, 2020:

(Johnson County): On November 13, the Johnson County Commission approved capping public mass gatherings to 50 people or 50% capacity. Schools and places of worship are exempt. The gathering limit also does not apply explicitly to bars, restaurants, gyms, healthcare organizations, funeral services, and retailers.

All businesses must enforce face masks and 6 feet social distancing, with the exception of performing personal services, such as at a salon, doctor, etc., where social distancing is not possible. Masks will still be required when entering those businesses.

Bars and restaurants serving alcohol are required to close dining areas at midnight and the dining area must remain closed for four hours. The establishments may continue to provide carryout, drive-through, and delivery after midnight.

The new restrictions will go into effect Monday, November 16, and will not end until at least January 31, 2020.

County attorneys are drafting a civil penalty to fine businesses up to $500 per violation of the order. The vote will occur Thursday, 11/19.

November 12, 2020:

On November 12, Governor Laura Kelly announced that 11 contracts have been awarded in conjunction with the Kansas COVID-19 Unified Testing Strategy supported with SPARK funding.

(Douglas County): On November 12, the Douglas County Health Department, which includes the city of Lawrence, announced new restrictions that will limit the size of mass gatherings. Local Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino said mass gatherings will be limited to 15 people starting Friday, Nov. 13. Currently, up to 45 people are allowed in such instances.

(Shawnee County): On November 12, the Shawnee County Health Department ordered that gatherings will be limited to 10 people whether they are held indoors or outdoors, starting at 12:01 p.m. on Friday, November 13. Bars must close at 12:00 a.m. Restaurants must close at 12:00 a.m. unless they provide drive-thru, delivery, or pick-up. Parties larger than 10 may not sit together at a restaurant. Bars or restaurants with a maximum capacity of larger than 100 people can only operate at 50% of that capacity.

The Topeka public school district, with about 13,000 students and 2,400 staff, announced that it would suspend in-person classes for at least two weeks, starting Monday. The district, one of the largest in the state, had students splitting four days a week between in-person and online classes, with online classes Wednesdays.

November 11, 2020:

(Sedgwick County): On November 10, the Wichita School Board decided that middle and high school students will continue to take classes remotely until the end of the current semester. The district had planned to allow them to have in-person classes twice a week, starting this week. Elementary school students will continue with the in-person or remote learning that they selected at enrollment.

Also, the Sedgwick County health officer issued an order limiting mass gatherings to 100 people or 50% of a venue's capacity. This includes bars, nightclubs, restaurants, fitness centers, and health clubs. In eating and drinking establishments, seating will be capped at eight people per table, with at least six feet of separation or a Plexiglass or other physical barrier between tables. All bars, night clubs, restaurants, and other businesses licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption must abide by a curfew and close by 11:00 p.m. In-person dining must also finish by 11:00 p.m.

Retail stores will be required to inform patrons that masks are mandatory to enter the business. Also, each store’s management will be responsible for enforcing mask requirements and questioning those not wearing masks to determine if they have some personal exemption.

Attendance at sporting events, tournaments and other recreational events will be limited to a maximum of two spectators per participant. School sports will continue to be regulated by school boards and interscholastic athletic associations.

County commissioners “also added enforcement provisions to what had been a nearly unenforceable set of rules, establishing a maximum fine of $500 for repeated violations.” The commission also passed a resolution that would allow police and deputies to issue code-violation citations. Penalties could range up to a maximum $500 plus $20 court costs. No one may be jailed for violations.

The separate penalty resolution will allow sheriff’s deputies to begin issuing citations for violations in unincorporated areas as early as November 18, Assistant County Counselor Justin Waggoner said. Violations could also be enforced in cities by police or code-enforcement officers, but each city council would have to take action to allow that.

The order takes effect Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. until December 31, 2020, unless it is amended, revoked, or replaced.

(Harvey County): In Harvey County, the County Commission limited gatherings to 45 people. The county saw its cases rise 83% in two weeks, from 572 on October 26 to 1,048 on Monday, according to state health department data.

(Jefferson County): In Jefferson County, the County Commission approved a mask mandate Monday after having opted out of Kelly's mandate in July. The Mask Mandate for Jefferson County will take effect on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 starting at 12:01 a.m. and extend until 11:59 p.m. on November 30, 2020. It will be re-evaluated at that time. Jefferson County Health Officer Crystal VanHoutan also strongly recommends that any and all mass gathering be limited to no more than 75 persons.

November 4, 2020:

(Johnson County): On November 3, the Johnson County Health Department announced that due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the county is now in the “red” zone according to its guidance for safely operating schools. In that zone, the health department advises that all students should learn remotely, although officials are not yet making that recommendation. It is up to districts to decide whether to follow the county’s guidance. The health department is also advising districts to cancel winter sports, such as basketball, where social distancing is impossible.

November 2, 2020:

On October 30, Governor Laura Kelly announced the launch of the online investment dashboard to show how the $1.034 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) are being spent across Kansas. Kansans can view the investment dashboard directly at covid.ks.gov/covid-data/ or by visiting the Office of Recovery website: covid.ks.gov/spark-recovery-office/ and selecting the Investment Dashboard tab.

The dashboard shows the $1.034 billion in federal CARES Act investments approved by the Governor’s SPARK taskforce and State Finance Council. The dashboard allows users to view investments based on how the funds will be used or by location served. For example, users can view all the investments that have strengthened public health, or they can learn how much funding their counties have received.

Through the SPARK process, approximately $400 million was distributed to Kansas counties directly to address their local needs. The remaining funds are being administered by statewide organizations to provide Kansans programs and services. The dashboard shows how all these funds are being invested. Not all funds have been spent yet, and the dashboard will continue to be updated as more dollars are invested.

October 29, 2020:

The Kansas State Finance Council approves $65 million for increased COVID-19 testing and small business grants. This CARES Act funding will allow Kansas to provide up to one million COVID-19 tests by the end of the year and $20 million for small businesses.

October 21, 2020:

Governor Kelly announced $35 million of CARES Act funding is available for rental assistance for those experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Kansans will be eligible to receive up to $5,000 to help them stay in their homes and businesses.

(Wichita): As of October 21, at midnight, the City of Wichita’s mask mandate expired. Wichita will continue to follow the Sedgwick County Emergency Public Health Order requiring residents to continue to wear masks in all public places.

October 13, 2020:

On October 13, Governor Laura Kelly and Secretary Laura Howard announced that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) has partnered with a supply company to launch an online order portal available to adult care homes across the state to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control supplies during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

KDADS received $10 million on October 1 from the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Committee and approved by the State Finance Council to help provide PPE and infection control supplies to adult care homes that are not federally regulated for participation in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Title 18 or Title 19 program. Adult care homes in Kansas that qualify for this earmarked SPARK funding include:

  • Adult Day Care (ADC)
  • Assisted Living (ALF)
  • Boarding Care Home (BCH)
  • Home Plus (HP)
  • Intermediate Care Facility / Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (ICF/IDD)
  • Residential Health Care Facilities
  • Nursing Facilities who do not participate in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Title 18 or Title 19 program

KDADS entered an agreement with SOURCE 309 Powered by American Solutions for Business, to connect adult care homes with suppliers of PPE through a dedicated KDADS portal focused on critical supplies and rapid fulfillment of orders to adult care homes. SOURCE 309 assembled a list of selected PPE supplies that meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) safety recommendations. The products available can be found at https://online.fliphtml5.com/hldlw/axug/.

KDADS has assigned a budget of approximately $575 per qualified bed per facility to each adult care home with qualifying beds. Facilities can use the budget to purchase PPE supplies through the portal and do not need to provide any additional funds. KDADS will review incoming orders and may make changes to orders to fit within a facility’s budget and to ensure SPARK funds are allocated to purchase PPE.

SOURCE 309 will combine group incoming orders to drive down prices and make individual orders cost-effective for members of this program. The target is to ship individual PPE orders 7 to 20 business days after an order has been submitted. Due to demand and market volatility, some items in an order may arrive faster than others and, if market conditions change, some hard-to-get items like nitrile gloves and N95 masks could see extended delivery dates. PPE supplies in the portal may also change based on availability.

If a facility has an emergency need for supplies, they should continue to reach out to their local emergency management officials.

KDADS’ expectation is that adult care homes will also be able to use the State of Kansas master contract (state use contract) to purchase PPE and other COVID-19 related supplies using their own resources. Approved vendors can be found at https://admin.ks.gov/offices/procurement-and-contracts/additional-files-for-procurement-contracts/personalprotectiveequipmentrelatedsuppliescontracts.

October 1, 2020:

On September 30, Governor Laura Kelly announced that Friday, October 2, the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) will begin accepting self-certification and processing payments to eligible unemployed workers under the federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program.

FEMA approved an award total of $116 million to assist Kansans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who are eligible, payments will be retroactive to the week ending August 1, 2020. KDOL was notified by FEMA that these funds will be available through the week ending September 5, 2020.

To be eligible, a claimant must self-certify his or her unemployment or partial unemployment is due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. If KDOL confirms eligibility, the claimant will receive the payment for each week of the LWA program, as long as the person remains eligible and funds remain available.

Claimants can self-certify by logging into their account at http://www.getkansasbenefits.gov or by calling one of the unemployment contact center phone numbers listed on the website.

The program will provide eligible claimants with an additional $300 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefits. Governor Kelly proposed the $400 option for LWA as a way to get additional money into the hands of unemployed Kansans.

On October 1, Governor Laura Kelly announced that applications are now open for newly available grant funds and additional resources to support remote learning for school-age children. The Remote Learning Grant program will help address learning and supervision needs of school-age children who are not able to attend in-person school due to the pandemic.

September 29, 2020:

On September 29, Governor Laura Kelly issued new guidance to reflect the changes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made in detailed guidance late last week that directs “reasonable ways nursing facilities can safely facilitate in-person visitation” to address the psychosocial needs of residents and their families during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

CMS directed that nursing facilities should adhere to certain “core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention” at all times, including social distancing, temperature screens, and cleaning protocols. Outdoor visitation poses a lower risk than indoor visitation, however indoor visitation can be allowed if there have been no new COVID-19 cases in a facility in the past 14 days and the facility is not conducting active outbreak testing. Other requirements for indoor and outdoor visitation can be found in CMS document QSO-20-39-NH. Facilities that do not adopt the new guidelines without a valid reason for keeping their doors closed, face potential monetary penalties.

Individual facilities should use the following paraments as additional information to determine if indoor visitation is advisable:

  • Low county positivity rate (<5%) = Visitation should occur according to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and facility policies (beyond compassionate care visits)
  • Medium county positivity rate (5% – 10%) = Visitation should occur according to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and facility policies (beyond compassionate care visits)
  • High county positivity rate (>10%) = Visitation should only occur for compassionate care situations according to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and facility policies

The guidance further authorizes states to provide $3,000 grants from Civil Monetary Penalty funds for facilities to purchase equipment to facilitate visitation such as tents for outdoor visits or plexiglass screens. KDADS is working on the application process for facilities to request funding.

Furthermore, on September 29, Governor Laura Kelly announced that, as part of the Technology for Families Grant Program, the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund distributed $636,066 to support connectivity for families in need representing 86 Kansas counties.

September 24, 2020:

On September 23, Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order #20-66 to provide for the extension of drivers’ licenses that would expire before January 26, 2021. The order sets a staggered deadline for vehicle registrations depending on when a vehicle was purchased. The specific registration deadlines are outlined in the Order.

September 21, 2020:

On September 17, Governor Laura Kelly announced the State Finance Council (SFC) today unanimously approved a total of $290 million for the public health, essential needs and services, and business resiliency and workforce development programs previously recommended by the Executive Committee of the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce. Governor Kelly said, “These funds will provide child supervision for parents with school-age children to ensure they can keep working, reduce evictions, and provide tools to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Recognizing the constantly evolving health and economic needs created by the pandemic, the recommendations do not allocate all the funds immediately. Rather, the Office of Recovery will monitor demand for the funds from approved programs and submit additional allocations to the State Finance Council for approval. Each program requires a minimum be invested in an area of emphasis, which include COVID-19 testing, housing stability, and remote learning centers for school-age children. If those areas of emphasis do not require more funding, the remaining dollars in the reserve fund can be allocated to previous programs approved by the SFC in round 2.

September 17, 2020:

(Johnson County): On September 17, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners voted to reaffirm Governor Kelly’s executive order requiring masks or other face coverings in indoor spaces in Johnson County, Kansas. The mask mandate is now extended until October 15, 2020.

September 15, 2020:

On September 15, Governor Laura Kelly announced she has signed Executive Order #20-65, which extends temporary relief for motor carriers from certain weight restrictions and permit requirements to allow needed medical supplies, food shipments, and other items to move through Kansas as quickly as possible. These exceptions apply only to motor carriers actively participating in COVID-19 response efforts. 

Executive Order #20-65 is in place until rescinded, until December 31, 2020, or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier. It is an extension of measures put in place by Executive Order #20-62.

September 14, 2020:

On September 11, Governor Kelly signed Executive Order #20-64, which will re-issue and extend several previous orders set to expire next week. Under E.O. #20-64, the following orders will be extended until rescinded, until January 26, 2021, or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier:

  • 20-37 – Allowing certain deferred tax deadlines and payments during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-39 – Extending professional and occupational licenses during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-40 – Temporarily allowing notaries and witnesses to act via audio-video communication technology during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-43 – Temporary relief from certain restrictions concerning shared work programs during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-50 – Temporary relief from certain unemployment insurance requirements during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-55 – Amended provisions related to drivers’ license and vehicle registration and regulation during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-56 – Amended Licensure, Certification, and Registration for persons and Licensure of “Adult Care Homes” during state of disaster emergency
  • 20-61 – Temporarily prohibiting certain foreclosures and evictions

September 9, 2020:

On September 9, 2020, Governor Kelly announced that the Kansas Division of Emergency Management has launched a new Business Personal Protective Equipment Stopgap program, which will provide PPE to businesses experiencing delays in purchased equipment. Businesses that ordered PPE but are experiencing a backorder or delayed delivery date on their purchase may access this program and expect delivery of items, if available, within a few days.

September 8, 2020:

(Wyandotte County-Kansas City): On September 4, 2020, the Unified Government Public Health Department released new recommendations for fall sports in Wyandotte County. For school activities, the Department recommends:

  • maintaining “cohorts” of students and a limited number of faculty that remain together; and
  • maintaining group cohorting for both sports and in-person academic programming, or utilizing remote academic learning.

For non-school activities (such as private clubs), the Department recommends remote learning programs.

(Sedgwick County): On September 3, 2020, the Sedgwick County Local Health Officer released an Emergency Public Health Order. The Order goes into effect September 9, 2020, and requires all persons within the county to wear face coverings while:

  • inside any indoor or outdoor public space where 6-feet of distancing is not possible;
  • in line to enter an indoor public space;
  • obtaining services from a healthcare sector provider; and
  • waiting for or riding on public transportation or any ride-sharing vehicle.

The Order further requires all businesses, organizations, and non-profits within the county to require employees, customers, and visitors to wear a face covering in any space visited by the public, and in any space where food is prepared or packaged. Exemptions from the Order include:

  • Children five years or under;
  • Persons with a medical or mental health condition that prevents wearing a face covering;
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • Persons seated at a restaurant, provided they maintain a 6-foot distance from other parties;
  • Athletes engaged in organized sports allowing 6-feet of distance with only infrequent moments of closer proximity;
  • Individuals participating in strenuous exercise that allows 6-feet of distance; and
  • Persons engaged in a court-related proceeding.

September 3, 2020:

On September 2, 2020, Governor Kelly announced that beginning Wednesday, September 9, the state will begin to release the names and locations of active COVID-19 outbreaks within the state. Active locations will be released when there are five (5) or more confirmed cases associated to a location. For private businesses, the name of the business will only be released if there are twenty (20) or more cases. This information will be published weekly on Wednesdays, on the COVID-19 dashboard on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website.

(Johnson County): On September 3, 2020, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment released new restaurant guidance to help restaurants understand the safety precautions in place and what to do should a worker test positive for COVID-19.

August 31, 2020:

On August 27, 2020, Governor Kelly and several state agencies announced an effort to allocate $8 million in CARES Act funds to cover health care expenses for essential workers who have contracted COVID-19. Covered workers include health care professionals, emergency responders, food service workers, construction, child care providers, and agricultural workers. Covered workers who have incurred expenses related to COVID-19 may apply under the Kansas Hero Relief Program for up to $25,000 for uninsured individuals, or up to $15,000 for insured individuals.

On August 27, 2020, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment amended its travel quarantine list guidance to include Aruba. Anyone traveling to Aruba on or after August 27th must now quarantine for 14 days upon arrival back in Kansas.

(Johnson County): The deadline for Johnson County businesses and organizations to apply for personal protective equipment made available by the State of Kansas is Friday, September 4, 2020. All businesses and organizations are eligible and may receive disposable masks, face shields, and/or cloth reusable gowns.

August 24, 2020:

(Sedgwick County): On August 18, 2020, the County Health Officer signed an Emergency Public Health Order, effective August 22, 2020, implementing new mask requirements and adopting Phase 2 of the Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas. The Order required all persons to wear face covering when in any indoor or outdoor public space where 6-feet of distancing is not possible. It further requires businesses to require all employees and customers to wear face coverings when employees are working in any space visited by customers (regardless of whether anyone is present at the time) and in any place where food is prepared or distributed.

Exemptions include those aged five and under, those with a medical condition preventing covering of the face, those with hearing impairments, those seated at a restaurant with more than 6-feet of distance from others, and those engaged in organized sports that allow 6-feet of distance other than during infrequent moments of closer proximity.

August 18, 2020:

On August 17, 2020, Governor Kelly signed an Executive Order (#20-61), effective immediately until September 15, 2020, calling for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures provoked by financial hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order prevents banks and financial lending entities from foreclosing on mortgages in default and landlords from evicting residential tenants due to default or violations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the order does not relieve mortgagors and tenants suffering from a COVID-19 financial hardship of their obligations under their respective mortgages and leasing agreements.

August 17, 2020:

On August 13, 2020, Governor Kelly announced a second round of CARES Act funding, totaling over $130 million in grants. Beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, businesses can apply for the following:

  • small business working capital grants;
  • securing local food systems grants;
  • PPE procurement & manufacturing grants;
  • COVID-19 bioscience product development acceleration grants;
  • connectivity emergency response grants;
  • broadband partnership adoption grants;
  • domestic supply chain fortification grants;
  • IT, cybersecurity, & IT project management certification training grants; and
  • higher education advance manufacturing & IT equipment grants.

(Kansas City–Wyandotte County): The Local Public Health Officer issued an order on August 13, 2020, regarding sports in Wyandotte County. The order, which took effect August 14, 2020, requires all athletes, coaches, and nonparticipating individuals to wear masks indoors and outdoors, when social distancing cannot be maintained.

Per the order, football, volleyball, soccer, and band competitions are prohibited during the fall season. However, football, volleyball, soccer, band, and basketball practices are permitted, conditional on implementation social distancing and sanitization. Additionally, the order permits non-contact sports—including debate, speech, tennis, gymnastics, golf, cross country—in compliance with state directives.

Additionally, on August 14, 2020, the Unified Government Board of Commissioners approved an Emergency Order and Resolution, relaxing rules on food trucks, farmer’s markets, and mobile markets throughout the county. The order suspends enforcement through December 31, 2020 of a number of ordinances and amends the Code of Regulations to allow businesses to expand their reach within the COVID-19 restrictions.

Farmer’s markets may operate within the following guidelines:

  • must operate between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.;
  • must occur on a paved lot with owner’s permission;
  • cannot obstruct ADA parking spaces, fire hydrants, bus stops, or loading/unloading zones;
  • no Special Use permit is required with a valid business license and a plan of operation submitted to the Department of Planning and Urban Design;
  • must enforce social distancing among customers and vendors.

Mobile markets may operate within the following guidelines:

  • must obtain a business license;
  • must display signage indicating contact information;
  • must operate between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (Sunday–Thursday) and 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), extendable to 10:00 p.m. at a permitted block party;
  • must receive invitation from location owner;
  • vehicles cannot block sidewalks, violate no-parking zones, park in metered spot without paying, or occupy any public right-of-way;
  • vehicles cannot park within 100 feet of a single-family home, or in parking spots required for other businesses;
  • cannot remain parked in one location for more than 4 hours.

Mobile vendors may operate within the following guidelines:

  • must obtain a business license;
  • vehicles must pay meters and maintain proper time in metered spots;
  • vehicles cannot park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or bus stop, within 20 feet of an intersection or street corner, or in a loading/unloading zone;
  • queueing for ordering, purchasing, and receiving product must be at least 5 feet from passing traffic;
  • vehicles cannot park on a road with a speed limit exceeding 40 miles per hour;
  • sandwich boards must be within 5 feet of the vehicle, and not interfering with traffic;
  • must operate between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (agriculture-zoned districts and residential areas) or 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. (commercial- and industrial-zoned districts).

August 13, 2020:

The Kansas Department of Health updated its quarantine travel list. Travel to Florida post-August 11, 2020 no longer requires quarantine but attending mass gatherings of over 500 people out-of-state now triggers a 14-day quarantine upon returning to Kansas.

August 11, 2020:

(Wichita): The Wichita mask ordinance was set to expire on August 11, but the City Council voted to extend the ordinance until September 8, 2020.

August 10, 2020:

(Johnson County): After a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, all businesses and organization in Johnson County are eligible to request a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet their organizational needs.

August 5, 2020:

(Shawnee County): The Shawnee County Health Department issued a guide to “Preparedness and Planning for Child Care Programs” during COVID-19. The digital pamphlet provides guidance on deciding whether to reopen, as well as strategies once the decision has been made.

August 3, 2020:

(Johnson County): On August 1, 2020, the Johnson County Department of Health and Education released guidelines on preventing the spread of COVID-19 at work and for childcare centers, preschools, school-age programs, and home childcare providers.

The workplace guidelines include suggested policies, instructions for when COVID-19 occurs in the workplace, and sample letters for employers to send to their exposed employees. The childcare guidelines also include suggested policies and instructions for management of a COVID-19 positive individual.

July 29, 2020:

The Johnson County Department of Health and Education has released recommendations for reopening Johnson County schools. The recommendations are broken down by student age (elementary v. middle/high school), activity (school v. extra- or co-curricular), and “Gating Criteria” (local data reflecting positivity rate and trending number of cases).

The Department urges each district to adopt the following principles into their reopening plan:

  • Accommodate high-risk individuals;
  • Develop remote plans, should the need arise;
  • Promote healthy hygiene practices and intense sanitization regimens;
  • Embrace social distancing of 6 feet where possible (otherwise 3 feet), especially when individuals will be in proximity of each other for more than 10 minutes;
  • Masks are required; and
  • Limit shared supplies, student intermingling, and non-essential outside vendors.

July 28, 2020:

(Wyandotte County): On July 27, 2020, the Local Health Officer issued an Emergency Public Health Order prohibiting the opening of Wyandotte County public schools for in-person educating until after Labor Day 2020. The order is effective as of July 28, 2020.

The order further provides that social distancing of 6 feet between educators and children must also be maintained and masks must be worn by all educators and schoolchildren whenever inside, outside in groups, or outside when 6 feet social distancing cannot be maintained.

Children shall be “cohorted” to achieve 50% capacity of students in school facilities. Schools may attain this by any number of creative solutions, including:

  • allowing half of the grade levels to return in-person and requiring the other half to do full-time distance learning;
  • utilization of non-traditional educational space within the school, such as gymnasiums, music rooms, etc.;
  • dividing the student body into two cohorts that alternate between in-person and distance learning.

Each school is required to submit its plan to the Health Department for approval before implementation.

This order is enforceable by Wyandotte County law enforcement officers, and violation of such order is a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 30-day jail sentence.

July 27, 2020:

(Shawnee County): On July 24, 2020, the Local Health Officer issued an order, effective July 25, 2020, restricting the operation of certain businesses:

Business Type Regulations
Bars, Restaurants, and Nightclubs (including outdoor service areas, such as Patios)
  • Restricted Hours—bars and dine-in restaurants may operate from 6:00AM to 12:00AM Sunday–Wednesday and 6:00AM to 11:00PM Thursday–Saturday. Drive-through, delivery, and curbside pick-up services may be available at any time.
  • Limited Capacity—bars may operate at 50% capacity. Social distancing must be enforced (either 6 feet distance or a plastic shield between tables). Party buses may only operate for groups of 10 people or less.
  • Prohibited Activities— all service must be seated; bar or counter service is prohibited. Dance floors and karaoke are not permitted. Live music is allowed, so long as performers are 10 feet from any customer areas.
Personal Services (Salons, Pet Grooming, etc.)
  • Restricted Services—any service that cannot occur with masks cannot be provided.
  • Limited Capacity—no more than 45 may gather (including employees and clients), and 6 foot distance must be maintained.
  • Hair braiding services must conform to these guidelines
Entertainment Venues (Movie Theatres, Bowling Alleys, etc.) Either seats must be pre-assigned or six feet social distancing must be maintained.
Mass Public Events (Fairs, Carnivals, Parades, etc.) No more than 2,000 participants or 50% of the total capacity (whichever is smaller).
Gyms and Fitness Centers (including showers and locker room facilities) Social distancing and regular sanitization must be enforced.
Sports and Athletic Activities No more than 2,000 or 50% capacity (whichever is smaller) in any venue. Activities involving opposing teams may not exceed 45 people total, including members from both teams.
Public Swimming Pools Limited to 50% capacity. Groups may not exceed 45 people, and individuals must maintain social distancing.
Real Estate Showings and open houses may occur, as long as groups do not exceed 45 people and social distancing is maintained.
Childcare and Summer Camps
  • Limited Capacity—no more than 45 people in a group, and social distancing must be maintained.
  • Sanitization must occur daily, in accordance with CDC recommendations.

July 23, 2020:

(Sedgwick County): The Board of County Commissioners has amended the Local Health Officer’s July 21, 2020 order, making the following changes:

  • The minimum age requirement for a mask is eleven years of age (formerly five years of age).
  • There is no longer a 12:00 a.m. curfew for businesses other than “bars or nightclubs” that are licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption. Bars and nightclubs are still closed.
  • The order will expire on August 21, 2020 (formerly September 9, 2020).

(Douglas County): Douglas County has formed a “COVID-19 Recovery Coordination Team” to manage the county’s coronavirus response, including identifying eligible expenditures of the $24.9 million in CARES Act funding the county is scheduled to receive. Reimbursement and Direct Aid requests are due to the Douglas County Staff by August 3, 2020.

July 22, 2020:

(Sedgwick County): On July 21st, the Sedgwick County Local Heath Officer issued an Emergency Public Health Order that becomes effective Friday, July 24th at 12:01AM.

The Order states that individuals must wear masks or keep a physical barrier between themselves and others:

  • When social distancing cannot be maintained indoors or outdoors;
  • While in line to enter an indoor public space;
  • While obtaining healthcare services (at a hospital, pharmacy, clinic, lab, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, blood bank, etc.); or
  • While waiting for or riding public transportation.

Further, businesses must require their employees, customers, visitors, members, or members of the public to wear a mask when:

  • employees are working in a space inhabited by members of the public;
  • food is being prepared or packaged;
  • customers are present in a facility controlled or operated by the business; or
  • employees are in enclosed space and social distancing is not possible.

Limited exemptions to the above mandates include:

  • children under the age of five (children two years of age or younger should NOT wear a mask);
  • individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face mask;
  • individuals who are hearing impaired or communicating with others who are hearing impaired;
  • individuals whose work presents a risk when wearing a face mask;
  • individuals seated at a restaurant;
  • athletes engaged in an activity where social distancing can be mostly maintained;
  • individuals in court-related proceedings before the Kansas Judiciary;
  • individuals engaging in activities for which wearing a face covering is against the law; and
  • voters at polling places.

July 21, 2020:

On July 20, Governor Kelly signed Executive Order 20-59, which outlines mitigation procedures K-12 schools must take to ensure the safety of students and teachers. The Order mandates face coverings for all students, faculty, staff, vendors, and other visitors to public or private K-12 school buildings or facilities. Exceptions will be made for:

  • Eating;
  • Activities that cannot be safely conducted with a mask or other face covering;
  • Children who are not students and are 5 years of age or under;
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
  • Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing or communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work.

The Order further mandates six (6) feet of separation, except for in-person classroom instruction when masks are worn, and requires hand sanitizer in all classrooms which students and faculty must use no less than once per hour. All individuals entering schools will have their temperatures taken prior to entry.

Governor Kelly further shared details for proposed Executive Order 20-58. This Order can only be signed if the Kansas Board of Education votes to approve the Order. If approved and signed, the Order would delay schools from beginning any instruction from August through September 8.

July 20, 2020:

On July 15th, the Shawnee County Health Department issued a Public Health Order for Home Quarantine for certain individuals. Individuals are ordered to self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days if they have: 1) traveled to a location with known widespread community transmission of Covid-19; 2) traveled internationally to specified locations with restrictions on entry to the United States; 3) traveled on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15th; or 4) have received notification from Public Health officials (state or local) that they are a close contact of a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19.

July 15, 2020:

On July 14, Governor Kelly issued an Executive Order which exempts commercial vehicles and motor carriers who are actively participating in Covid-19 relief from certain registration and licensing requirements including:

  • Ability to haul 10% more than the licensed weight on Kansas highways;
  • Suspension of licensing, certification, and permitting usually required by the Kansas Corporation Commission;
  • Suspension of registration and fuel tax permits usually required by the Kansas Department of Revenue; and
  • Waiver of fees when obtaining over-dimensional/overweight permits;

In Wyandotte County/Kansas City the local health officials have amended the mask mandate. The new requirements are:

  • All indoor exercise requires a mask including team sports; and
  • Children over 5 must wear a mask in daycare, childcare, or educational settings.

July 8, 2020:

On July 8 Governor Kelly issued two new Executive Orders:

  • Executive Order 20-55
    • Extends any temporary, sixty-day permit for motor vehicles purchased from January 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020, subject to the following:
      • If vehicle was purchased in January 2020, it must be titled and registered by August 31, 2020;
      • If vehicle was purchased in February 2020, it must be titled and registered by September 30, 2020;
      • If vehicle was purchased in March 2020, it must be titled and registered by October 31, 2020;
      • If vehicle was purchased in April 2020, it must be titled and registered by November 30, 2020; and
      • If vehicle was purchased in May 2020, it must be titled and registered by December 31, 2020.
  • Executive Order 20-56
    • Clarifies Executive Order 20-49 by re-extending license renewal deadlines for facilities which provide adult care; and
    • Extends the licensure requirement and temporarily authorizes certain persons to provide healthcare in adult care-taking facilities.

The Local Health Officer of Shawnee County has issued an order restricting bars restaurants and nightclubs. The restrictions include:

  • Closure of dance floors;
  • Closure of all bars/restaurants/night clubs at 11pm Thursday through Saturday and 12am Sunday through Wednesday;
  • Mandated deep cleaning from 2pm to 3pm every day; and
  • Those establishments with more than 100 person capacity as established by the Fire Marshall can only operate at 50% of that capacity.

July 7, 2020:

On July 6, Governor Kelly recommended postponing moving into Phase 3 of the Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas. Phase 3 of the Ad Astra Plan includes:

  • Limiting gatherings of 45 people or more;
  • Remaining home if you feel sick;
  • Restricting on-site staffing; and
  • Resuming of nonessential travel.

Since the Kansas re-opening plan is a guideline only, some counties may continue moving into the Phase Out portion of the plan. Phase Out is the last phase of the Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas, and includes:

  • No travel restrictions;
  • Remaining home if you feel sick;
  • Following additional guidance from employer, if any; and
  • Maintaining social distance where applicable.

In Shawnee County/Topeka, the County Commissioners have voted on a modified mask mandate which makes exceptions for:

  • those under ten years old;
  • those that are hard of hearing or require visibility of lips to understand people;
  • Certain public places like swimming pools or a place where people are eating and/or drinking; and
  • Places where one is exercising or alone in a cubicle.

July 6, 2020:

Governor Kelly’s statewide mask mandate is now effect. This mandate requires face coverings:

  • Inside, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
  • While obtaining services from a dentist, pharmacy, laboratory, physician, or any other healthcare provider or business;
  • While waiting for or riding in public transportation including taxis, rideshares, and privately hired cars; and
  • While outside and unable to maintain six-feet of distance.

July 1, 2020:

On June 30, Governor Kelly signed a number of Executive Orders.

  • Executive Order 20-49: Reissues and extends to September 15, 2020 the following executive orders:
    • 20-36 Which extends driver’s license renewal, registration for passenger vehicles, registration for trucks/trailers, and registration for new cars by sixty days;
    • 20-37 Which extends the deadline for filing taxes this year;
    • 20-39 Which extends the licensing renewal timeline for professional and occupational licenses;
    • 20-40 Which temporarily allows notaries and witnesses to act via audio-video communication technology;
    • 20-41 Which extends the Licensure, Certification, and Registration for persons and Licensure of Adult Care Homes;
    • 20-42 Which allows alcohol to be sold to-go; and
    • 20-43 Which allows temporary relief from certain restrictions concerning shared work programs during state of disaster emergency.
  • Executive Order 20-50 temporarily waives the requirement that unemployed people seek work each week.

June 30, 2020:

Governor Kelly announced in a press conference on June 29 that face coverings will now be required throughout the state in public places. This includes shops, restaurants, and any situation where six-feet of separation cannot be maintained, even outside. The mandate goes into effect July 3. The Governor will release more information about the mask mandate in her executive order which will be released July 2.

June 29, 2020:

Governor Kelly announced that she will sign an Executive Order requiring Kansans to wear masks while in public spaces. The Order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 3.

The Wyandotte County/Kansas City mask mandate goes into effect June 30. The mandate requires cloth face coverings for every person:

  • When in a public indoor space (including a workplace, business, place of worship, or public facility such as a community center or library) individuals are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth; and
  • When in a public outdoor space or when using public transportation, taxis or ride-sharing services individuals are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth.

The individuals who are exempt from this mandate are:

  • Children under 5 years of age;
  • Those that are deaf and/or hard of hearing; and
  • Persons with a medical condition which prevents them from being able to remove the mask on their own.

Additionally, the Kansas City, Kansas, Municipal Court will be closed until July 6 due to Covid-19 exposure last week.

In Johnson County, the Board of County Commissioners approved an additional $14,996,458 towards Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for the strained health care system.

June 23, 2020:

On June 22, Governor Kelly recommended postponing moving into Phase 3 of the Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas. Since the Kansas re-opening plan is a guideline only, some counties will continue moving into the Phase Out portion of the plan. Phase Out is the last phase of the Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas, and includes:

  • no travel restrictions;
  • remaining home if you feel sick;
  • following additional guidance from employers, if any; and
  • maintaining social distancing where applicable.

June 22, 2020:

On June 18, the Unified Government Public Health Department (UGPHD) of Wyandotte County/Kansas City issued a press release extending Phase 3 of re-opening to July 6. The UGPHD previously warned that the uptick of new covid-19 cases might require an extension, or reversal, of Phase 3. The restrictions still in place for Wyandotte County include:

  • no groups larger than 45 people;
  • 6 feet must be maintained at businesses; and
  • an encouragement to wear masks in public.

In Jefferson County/Topeka Phase Out is set to begin on Monday, June 22. Phase Out is the last phase of the Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas and includes:

  • no travel restrictions;
  • remaining home if you feel sick;
  • following additional guidance from employers, if any; and
  • maintaining social distancing where applicable.

In Shawnee County/Topeka, Phase 3 is not ending on June 22, though no specific date for the end of Phase 3 has been released.

June 18, 2020:

In a press release on June 16, the Unified Public Health Department warned of a new uptick in Covid-19 cases in Wyandotte County/Kansas City. Public health officials warn that the end of Phase 3 on June 22 could be pushed back, or reversed, if the trend of increased cases continues. Phase 3 has allowed for the opening of all businesses, educational institutions, activities, venues and establishments. The restrictions still in place for Wyandotte County include:

  • no groups larger than 45 people;
  • 6 feet must be maintained at businesses; and
  • an encouragement to wear masks in public.

The end of Phase 3 would begin the Phase Out phase when most restrictions are lifted.

June 17, 2020:

On June 16, the Kansas State Finance Council approved the distribution of $400 million in funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to local governments. Each Kansas county will receive resources based on their population, case rates, and unemployment rates. Further updates will be provided as individual counties determine use of these resources.

June 15, 2020:

On June 12, Governor Kelly signed Executive Order No. 20-45, which extended conditional and temporary relief from certain motor carrier rules and regulations. Specifically, the order

  • lifts certain weight restrictions and permitting requirements for motor carriers participating in COVID-19 response efforts, to allow needed medical supplies, food shipments and other items to move through Kansas;
  • suspends registration and fuel tax permits for motor carriers and persons operating commercial vehicles actively participating in COVID-19 response efforts;
  • waives fees associated with over-dimension/overweight permits (although the permits must still be obtained); and
  • supersedes any contrary local health department order.

These measures remain in force until July 14, 2020, or until the State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier.

June 10, 2020:

On June 9, Governor Kelly signed a COVID-19 response bill, House Bill 2016, into law. The bill codifies several of Governor Kelly’s previous executive orders, and most notably, extends the current emergency declaration through September 15, 2020. Executive orders codified by the Bill include the allowance of expanded telemedicine, temporary licensure of out-of-state medical providers, electronic notarization of documents, and certain liquor sales.

June 9, 2020:

On June 5, Governor Kelly recommended in a press briefing that Kansas counties move to Phase 3 of the Ad Astra Plan to Reopen Kansas. This transition is voluntary and up to each individual county, but under Phase 3:

  • Mass gatherings up to 45 individuals are allowed;
  • On-site staffing by employers is unrestricted; and
  • Non-essential travel may resume unrestricted.

June 2, 2020:

Governor Kelly announced that 66 counties in Kansas will receive grants—including economic development grants to provide communities with funding to help local businesses retain jobs, as well as meal program grants. Governor Kelly also announced that the SPARK task force has approved the distribution of federal funds to counties that have not yet received funding under the CARES Act.

May 26, 2020:

On May 26, Governor Kelly signed a new state of disaster Emergency Proclamation to ensure that Kansas can continue to effectively respond to the current emergency situation, including the economic emergency, the threat of new outbreaks of COVID-19, and the threat to food supply. The proclamation permits the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas National Guard, and the federal government to take certain measures including providing food supply, medical supplies, and shelter to continue to combat COVID-19 and its effects.

On Friday, May 22, Kansas moved to Phase 2 of the Ad Astra Plan to Reopen Kansas. Gatherings of up to 15 people are now permitted, and certain businesses may re-open, including organized sports facilities, community centers, indoor leisure spaces, and casinos. The order modifies the originally planned Phase 2 and no longer permits bars, night clubs, or swimming pools to open. Those have now been moved to Phase 3. Phase 2 will last until Sunday, June 7, assuming current trends of COVID-19 cases continue to remain the same. Phase 3 will begin on Monday, June 8. Additionally, fairs, festivals, summer camps, and large entertainment venues with a capacity of 2,000 or more must remain closed at this time.

May 21, 2020:

Effective Friday, May 22, Kansas will move to Phase 2 of the Ad Astra Plan to Reopen Kansas. Gatherings of up to 15 people are now permitted, and certain businesses may re-open, including organized sports facilities, community centers, indoor leisure spaces, and casinos. The order modifies the originally planned Phase 2 and no longer permits bars, night clubs, or swimming pools to open. Those have now been moved to Phase 3. Phase 2 will last until Sunday, June 7, assuming current trends of COVID-19 cases continue to remain the same. Phase 3 will begin on Monday, June 8. Additionally, fairs, festivals, summer camps, and large entertainment venues with a capacity of 2,000 or more must remain closed at this time.

May 20, 2020:

On May 19, Governor Kelly signed an Executive Order implementing a modified Phase 2 of the Ad Astra Plan to Reopen Kansas. Effective Friday, May 22, gatherings of up to 15 people are now permitted, and certain businesses may now re-open, including organized sports facilities, community centers, indoor leisure spaces, and casinos. The order modifies the originally planned Phase 2 and no longer permits bars, night clubs, or swimming pools to open. Those have now been moved to Phase 3. Phase 2 will last until Sunday, June 7, assuming current trends of COVID-19 cases continue to remain the same. Phase 3 will begin on Monday, June 8. Additionally, fairs, festivals, summer camps, and large entertainment venues with a capacity of 2,000 or more must remain closed at this time.

May 17, 2020:

Effective Monday, May 18, Kansas will enter Phase 1.5 under the state’s “Ad Astra” Re-opening Plan. Under this new phase, salons and other personal services may re-open for pre-scheduled appointments. Gyms may also re-open, though common areas and group classes must remain closed. Finally, graduation ceremonies may be held with a limitation on 10 individuals in a facility at once. Bars and nightclubs, non-tribal casinos, theaters, community centers, entertainment venues, swimming pools, fairs, and sports facilities and summer camps remain closed. Gatherings remain limited to ten people.

On May 15, Governor Kelly signed two additional Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 response. Executive Order 20-32 concerns Shared Work programs which allows employers to offer reduced hours and divide up the work hours among a group of employees in lieu of a layoff. The new order permits employers who have paid more than unemployment benefits to their employees than they have contributed to their unemployment insurance account with the state may now participate in a shared work plan. Under the federal “CARES” act, the federal government will reimburse 100% of state unemployment insurance benefits paid through a “short-time” or “shared work” unemployment program through the end of 2020.

Executive Order 20-33 extends a prior order, Executive Order 20-22, which eased regulations for motor carriers and persons operating commercial vehicles extending in the COVID-10 relief efforts. These carriers may continue haul up to 10% more than their licensed weight, not to exceed 90,000 pounds, and the licensing and permitting rules continue to be suspended.

May 15, 2020:

Governor Kelly announced that Kansas will enter Phase 1.5 under the state’s “Ad Astra” Re-opening Plan. Effective Monday, May 18, salons and other personal services may re-open for pre-scheduled appointments. Gyms may also re-open, though common areas and group classes must remain closed. Finally, graduation ceremonies may be held with a limitation on 10 individuals in a facility at once. Bars and nightclubs, non-tribal casinos, theaters, community centers, entertainment venues, swimming pools, fairs, and sports facilities and summer camps remain closed. Gatherings remain limited to ten people.

May 10, 2020:

Johnson County’s phased re-opening begins with Phase One on Monday, May 11. Under phase one, retail and restaurants may open with certain capacity restrictions. Gyms, barber shops, salons, community centers, large venues, graduations, organized sports, bars, and theaters remain closed.

Effective May 11, Wyandotte County/ Kansas City, Kansas enters the “red zone” under previously released guidance on ReStart WyCo, which includes “red,” “yellow,” and “green” zones. The red zone is “slightly relaxed” but “far from business as usual” and recommends the highest level of caution for vulnerable populations. Retail businesses may re-open for pick-up, and orders should be curbside delivered where possible. Non-essential business offices, and manufacturing and logistics centers may re-open, with work from home encouraged and six feet distancing between all employees required. Restaurants still may not offer dine-in, and only may offer take out or delivery.

May 8, 2020:

The Stay at Home Orders in Johnson County and Wyandotte County/ Kansas City, Kansas expire on Sunday, May 10 at 11:59 p.m. After expiration, Johnson County will follow along with the Kansas State Re-Opening Order, Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas. Johnson County has issued a phased re-opening, with Phase One planning to begin on Monday, May 11. Wyandotte County has previously released guidance on ReStart WyCo, including the “red,” “yellow,” and “green” zones. However, as of date, Wyandotte County has not indicated when it will move from the Stay at Home zone to the red zone.

May 3, 2020:

Executive Order No. 20-29, which implements Phase One of “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas,” is effective Monday, May 4. Most businesses may re-open and most non-essential activities may resume, subject to social distancing, cleaning and sanitation, public health practices, and avoidance of gatherings of more than ten individuals in one location. The Governor released a twenty-eight page plan detailing all phases and providing public health guidance.

All businesses should follow industry specific guidelines to be outlined at covid.ks.gov, and are strongly encouraged to follow any additional industry best practices guidance.

A number of businesses must remain closed, including bars and night clubs; casinos (non-tribal); theaters, museums, and other indoor leisure spaces; fitness centers and gyms; and nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, and other personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided. Such businesses may open if they are repurposed in a manner that qualifies as an essential function as defined in the Kansas Essential Function Framework (KEFF).

At this time, the Reopening plan does not apply to Johnson County or Wyandotte County as both counties have extended the State Stay-At-Home Order through May 10.

For a more in-depth analysis of the Kansas Order, see our further guidance here.

May 1, 2020:

On April 30, Governor Laura Kelly Issued Executive Order No. 20-29 which implements Phase One of “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas.” The Governor also released a twenty-eight page plan detailing all phases and providing public health guidance. Effective Monday, May 3, most businesses may re-open and most non-essential activities may resume, subject to social distancing, cleaning and sanitation, public health practices, and avoidance of gatherings of more than ten individuals in one location.

All businesses should follow industry specific guidelines to be outlined at covid.ks.gov, and are strongly encouraged to follow any additional industry best practices guidance.

A number of businesses must remain closed, including bars and night clubs; casinos (non-tribal); theaters, museums, and other indoor leisure spaces; fitness centers and gyms; and nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, and other personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided. Such businesses may open if they are repurposed in a manner that qualifies as an essential function as defined in the Kansas Essential Function Framework (KEFF).

At this time, the Reopening plan does not apply to Johnson County or Wyandotte County as both counties have extended the State Stay-At-Home Order through May 10.

April 30, 2020:

(Johnson County): The Johnson County Public Health Officer Dr. Joseph LeMaster signed an extension of the Governor Kelly’s State Stay at Home Order. The state-wide order was set to expire on May 3. The New Johnson County Order adopts the same framework of the Kansas Stay at Home Order, including the Kansas Essential Function Framework, and extends the Order through Sunday May 10 at 11:59 p.m. Businesses wishing to determine whether they are essential should now contact Johnson County, and all previous determinations made by the State of Kansas will remain in full effect. The Order also continues to limit gatherings to ten people. Essential Businesses include those in four categories including “Connect,” communications type businesses; “Distribute,” including transportation and transmission of electricity and energy; “Manage,” including essential government functions; and “Supply,” including the generation and supply of essential products, chemicals, fuels, electricity, agricultural goods, among others.

April 22, 2020:

Governor Kelly issued an Executive Order that relaxed the standards for those practicing medicine, including permitting physician’s assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to provide medical services without supervision. Governor Kelly also issued an order permitting the sale of alcoholic beverages for carry-out.

April 20, 2020:

A federal judge in Wichita, Kansas has ruled that the Kansas Stay At Home Order cannot be enforced against two churches in the State. There is a hearing scheduled for Thursday, April 23, for the judge to determine whether he will issue a longer-term order or a broader injunction. On April 18, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued an Executive Order making a few modifications to the ban on social gatherings, but the new Order did not impact restrictions on religious services. Under the new order, religious services are still restricted to ten attendees.

April 17, 2020:

Governor Kelly officially extended the Stay-At-Home Order through May 3, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. The Original Order identifies a framework of businesses that may remain operational, known as the Kansas Essential Function Framework, which includes four core areas: (1) “Connect,” which includes functions surrounding telecommunications services, (2) “Distribute,” which includes functions related to distribution of electricity and transportation of passengers or cargo, (3) “Manage,” which includes certain governmental functions such as law enforcement, the protection of sensitive information, the preservation of constitutional rights; and (4) “Supply,” which includes functions pertaining to certain supplies including fuel, housing, food products, defense, and research and development.

April 16, 2020:

Governor Kelly announced that the Stay-At-Home Order that went into effect on March 30 has been extended to May 3. The Order was originally set to expire on April 19, 2020. The extension has still not been released. The original Order adopted the framework from the previously implemented Executive Order No. 20-15 to define what qualifies as essential and includes four core areas, including: (1) “Connect,” which includes functions surrounding telecommunications services, (2) “Distribute,” which includes functions related to distribution of electricity and transportation of passengers or cargo, (3) “Manage,” which includes certain governmental functions such as law enforcement, the protection of sensitive information, the preservation of constitutional rights; and (4) “Supply,” which includes functions pertaining to certain supplies including fuel, housing, food products, defense, and research and development.

The Cities of Kansas City, Independence, and North Kansas City in Missouri have extended their Stay-At-Home Orders until May 15, 2020. Jackson County Executive also stated he plans to announce an extension as well.

April 14, 2020:

Governor Kelly signed Executive Order 20-22 which extends a prior order that had lifted certain restrictions and regulations for motor carriers actively participating in COVID-19 relief or restoration efforts. The Order is now in place until May 15, 2020.

Governor Kelly has also announced that she will release an extension to the Stay-At-Home Order currently set to expire on April 19, 2020. The extension has not yet been released.

April 12, 2020:

Governor Kelly issued an Executive Order on April 9 extending renewal deadlines for all occupational and professional licenses, and for organizations’ licenses and permits as well. The licenses and permits are now valid until 90 days following the termination of the State of Disaster Emergency. The Order also waives late payments and extends deadlines for continuing education requirements. However, the order does not affect licensing for attorneys.

The Governor also issued an order permitting remote notarization with two-way audio and video communication technology where both the Notary Public and individual are in the state of Kansas, the Notary Public can identify the individual signing the document, and the transaction follows guidance posted by the Kansas Secretary of State.

April 7, 2020:

Governor Kelly issued an Order prohibiting the gathering of more than ten people. This order replaced Order 20-14 which provided exemptions for religious gatherings and funeral services, as well as libraries, restaurants and bars, and grocery stores, among others, where social distancing was followed. Executive Order 20-18 now applies the ten person gathering limitation to attendees of religious gatherings and funerals as well, with the exception of those conducting the religious services or funeral services. The order still exempts libraries, restaurants and bars, and grocery stores, among others, where social distancing can be followed.

April 1, 2020:

Governor Kelly issued Executive Order 20-17, which requires all employers to notify employees of the potential availability of unemployment insurance benefits to employees at the time of separation from employment. The order also suspends certain requirements for claimants in connection with obtaining unemployment benefits.

March 30, 2020:

Governor Kelly issued a state-wide Shelter-At-Home Executive Order for the State of Kansas. All individuals within the state of Kansas are only permitted to leave their home for essential activities, including obtaining food, medicine, and household necessities, working at a business to perform an essential function as identified in the Kansas Essential Function Framework, among others.

This Order adopts the framework from the previously implemented Executive Order No. 20-15 to define what qualifies as essential and includes four core areas, including: (1) “Connect,” which includes functions surrounding telecommunications services, (2) “Distribute,” which includes functions related to distribution of electricity and transportation of passengers or cargo, (3) “Manage,” which includes certain governmental functions such as law enforcement, the protection of sensitive information, the preservation of constitutional rights; and (4) “Supply,” which includes functions pertaining to certain supplies including fuel, housing, food products, defense, and research and development.

The order goes into effect on March 30 and remains in effect until April 19, 2020, or until the State of Disaster expires, whichever is earlier, and unless extended.

March 26, 2020:

Governor Kelly signed the state’s budget bill which approved $65 million for COVID-19 response.

March 25, 2020:

Governor Kelly issued six executive orders yesterday, March 24.

No. 20-15 provides guidance to county health officials, with the intent of bringing consistency across the state. The order states that is supersedes and overrides any local order that did not exempt the Kansas Essential Functions Framework. These include telecommunications services, distribution of electricity and transportation of passengers or cargo, certain governmental functions such as law enforcement, protecting sensitive information, preserving constitutional rights, and certain supplies including fuel, housing, food products, defense, and research and development.

Governor Kelly also replaced the executive order covering evictions, with new language making it clear that landlords also may not evict people for failure to pay rent due to COVID-19 related financial hardship. The new order went into effect yesterday, March 24. The order does state that individuals are not relieved of their obligations to pay mortgages or rent.

The Governor also issued orders requiring the continuation of waste removal and recycling, extending vehicle registration renewal deadlines and license expiration dates to 60 days past the expiration of the order, prohibiting gatherings of more than ten people, and deferring tax payments to July 15, 2020 for individual and corporate income taxes and to October 15, 2020 for property taxes.

Shelter-At-Home orders also go into effect for Doniphan, Sedgwick, Atchison, Miami, and Shawnee counties today, March 25. The orders were issued March 24.

March 24, 2020:

Kansas and Missouri (KC Metro): Shelter-At-Home Orders go into effect for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas/Wyandotte County, Johnson County, Jackson County, Clay County, Platte County, Leavenworth County, Douglas County, and the City of Belton. The orders are in effect for 30 days.

March 22, 2020:

Kansas and Missouri: Officials from CORE 4 Partners of Johnson County, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Jackson County, Missouri; and Wyandotte County/City of Kansas City, Kansas held a press conference discussing the metro area’s new stay at home orders. The officials indicated the orders are largely identical.

Johnson County released its order directing individuals to stay at home other than to perform “essential activities” including tasks essential to health or safety, to obtain necessary supplies, and to perform essential business operations. Essential Businesses include twenty five categories including healthcare operations, essential infrastructure, essential government functions, grocery stores, media, gas stations, financial institutions, residential or essential business sanitation, maintenance, and safety workers, mail services, laundry, restaurants providing take-out or delivery, professional services, hotels, burial services, childcare services, and manufacturing companies, among others. The order also provides that schools may remain open and if needed can be used for housing, distribution of food, and providing medical care.

Essential businesses still must maintain social distancing requirements, including six-feet distancing. Gatherings of 10 people are prohibited. The order remains in effect for 30 days, until April 23, 2020.

Leavenworth County and Douglas County released similar orders.

March 21, 2020:

Kansas City Metro: The CORE 4 partners of Jackson County, Missouri; Johnson County, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Wyandotte County/ Kansas City, Kansas; announced that effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020, all residents are directed to stay at home except for essential needs. The order will remain in place for 30 days, with consideration after 30 days as to whether to prolong the order.

The City of Kansas City (Missouri) Order defines “Essential Businesses” as those that fall into 22 enumerated categories. These categories encompass most healthcare-related businesses, financial institutions, most food-related businesses, construction, utilities, transportation, grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, and professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities, among others. Essential Businesses may continue in-person operations, subject to implementing social-distancing practices. All other businesses must cease in-person operations, except for “minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory and facilities, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions,” as well as minimal activities to facilitate employees working from home.

With regard to individuals, the Order directs individuals to leave their homes only to perform essential activities, such as health related or to obtain necessary supplies, and to participate in otherwise permitted work activities.

Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County’s order directs individuals to stay at home other than essential activity, and the definition of essential businesses largely mirrors the order issued by the City of Kansas City, Missouri yesterday. It includes healthcare operations, operations surrounding food, media, gas stations, financial institutions, residential or essential business sanitation, maintenance, and safety workers, laundry, restaurants providing take-out or delivery, professional services, and childcare services, among others.

March 17, 2020:

Governor Kelly issued an executive order closing all K-12 schools until the end of the school year.

The Governor also directed all state employees in the executive branch agencies to stay home for two weeks, effective March 23, 2020, on administrative leave.

March 16, 2020:

Governor Kelly banned all gatherings larger than 50 people.

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